Acetylcholine, outer hair cell electromotility, and the cochlear amplifier

Peter Dallos*, David Z.Z. He, Xi Lin, István Sziklai, Samir Mehta, Burt N. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


The dominant efferent innervation of the cochlea terminates on outer hair cells (OHCs), with acetylcholine (ACh) being its principal neurotransmitter. OHCs respond with a somatic shape change to alterations in their membrane potential, and this electromotile response is believed to provide mechanical feedback to the basilar membrane. We examine the effects of ACh on electromotile responses in isolated OHCs and attempt to deduce the mechanism of ACh action. Axial electromotile amplitude and cell compliance increase in the presence of the ligand. This response occurs with a significantly greater latency than membrane current and potential changes attributable to ACh and is contemporaneous with Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. It is likely that increased axial compliance largely accounts for the increase in motility. The mechanical responses are probably related to a recently demonstrated slow efferent effect. The implications of the present findings related to commonly assumed efferent behavior in vivo are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2212-2226
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1997


  • acetylcholine
  • calcium
  • cell stiffness
  • cochlea
  • cochlear amplifier
  • dose-response curves
  • effects of ACh on outer hair cell
  • efferent
  • electromotility
  • microchamber technique
  • outer hair cell
  • patchclamp technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Acetylcholine, outer hair cell electromotility, and the cochlear amplifier'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this