Low-frequency modulation of inner hair cell and organ of Corti responses in the guinea pig cochlea

M. A. Cheatham*, P. Dallos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Low-frequency tones are used to study changes in responsiveness as a function of phase in inner hair cell (IHC) and organ of Corti (OC) responses recorded from second turn of the guinea pig cochlea. In these experiments a 40 Hz stimulus is combined with a variable frequency probe to determined the degree to which tones at and below best frequency (BF) are modulated. Changes in responsiveness produced by the low-frequency input are quantified and related to position of the basilar membrane which is estimated using the phase of the cochlear microphonic measured in the OC fluid space. Results obtained when 40 Hz is presented at its lowest effective level demonstrate that ac responses to low-level BF probes are reduced for basilar membrane displacements to scala tympani while probe tones well below BF are modulated in the opposite direction. The transition between these two response patterns occurs when the overall DC produced in the OC by the two-tone input changes from positive to negative. Because of this association, the frequency dependence exhibited in the bias results may be linked to mechanisms responsible for generating the two polarities of the summating potential and the DC receptor potentials that it reflects. An attempt is also made to relate bias-induced changes in hair cell receptor potentials to modulations in single-unit rate responses. In other words, to address variations in the temporal relationships between excitation and suppression measured in the auditory nerve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalHearing research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Cochlea
  • Hair cell
  • Receptor potential
  • Response phase
  • Stimulus biasing
  • Two-tone suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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