In vivo outer hair cell length changes expose the active process in the cochlea

Dingjun Zha, Fangyi Chen, Sripriya Ramamoorthy, Anders Fridberger, Niloy Choudhury, Steven L. Jacques, Ruikang K. Wang, Alfred L. Nuttall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Mammalian hearing is refined by amplification of the sound-evoked vibration of the cochlear partition. This amplification is at least partly due to forces produced by protein motors residing in the cylindrical body of the outer hair cell. To transmit power to the cochlear partition, it is required that the outer hair cells dynamically change their length, in addition to generating force. These length changes, which have not previously been measured in vivo, must be correctly timed with the acoustic stimulus to produce amplification. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using in vivo optical coherence tomography, we demonstrate that outer hair cells in living guinea pigs have length changes with unexpected timing and magnitudes that depend on the stimulus level in the sensitive cochlea. Conclusions/Significance: The level-dependent length change is a necessary condition for directly validating that power is expended by the active process presumed to underlie normal hearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere32757
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 9 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo outer hair cell length changes expose the active process in the cochlea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this