Morphology of the unfixed cochlea

R. M. Edge, B. N. Evans, M. Pearce, C. P. Richter, X. Hu, P. Dallos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of cochlear geometry is based largely upon anatomical observations derived from fixed, dehydrated, embedded and/or sputter-coated material. We have now developed a novel preparation, the hemicochlea, where for the first time living cochlear structures can be observed in situ and from a radial perspective. The experiments were performed on the Mongolian gerbil. Ion substitution experiments suggest that no significant swelling or shrinkage occurs when the preparation is bathed in normal culture medium, so long as calcium concentration is kept at endolymph-like (20 μM) levels. The tectorial membrane-reticular lamina relationship appears to remain well preserved. Hensen's stripe maintains a close relationship with the inner hair cell stereociliary bundle, unless the mechanical coupling becomes disturbed. In addition, standard fixation and/or dehydration procedures are used to quantify changes due to shrinkage artifacts. Various morphometric gradients are examined in unfixed specimens from apical, middle, and basal turns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalHearing research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Anatomy
  • Basilar membrane
  • Calcium
  • Cochlea
  • Hemicochlea
  • Organ of Corti
  • Tectorial membrane
  • Tissue fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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