The influence of loud sound on red blood cell velocity and blood vessel diameter in the cochlea

Wayne S. Quirk, G. Avinash, A. L. Nuttall, J. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Using intravital microscopy, we observed both decreases in red blood cell velocity and possible vasoconstriction in stria vascularis capillaries of the rat cochlea in response to loud sound (Quirk el al., 1991). However, our observation of vasoconstriction was subject to error in measurements from the two dimensional images obtained with our silicon intensified (SIT) camera due to the influence of focus causing image blur. The purpose of the current study was to apply an extended focus microscopy technique to obtain quantitative assessment of vessel diameter changes (Avinash et al., 1992), as well as to extend these studies to the guinea pig model. Broad-band sound stimulation at intensities of 84 dB SPL and 110 dB SPL were used. The results show that loud sound induces a sequence of changes in cochlear blood flow. Stimulation with 110 dB SPL resulted in a mean increase (maximum = 27%) in red blood cell velocity for the first 20 min of exposure followed by a gradual decrease below baseline (minimum = -12%) prior to termination of the signal. This velocity decrease and subsequent recovery were associated with significant changes in vessel diameters of selected and measured capillaries. In contrast, the 84 dB SPL stimulus caused an increase in red blood cell velocity (maximum = 20%) and vessel diameter (mean = 7.5) during the stimulation period. No recovery was observed during the 10 min observation period following sound. Several possible mechanisms responsible for these changes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Guinea pig
  • Intravital microscopy
  • Loud sound
  • Red blood cell velocity
  • Vessel diameter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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