Effect of outer hair cell piezoelectricity on high-frequency receptor potentials

Alexander A. Spector, William E. Brownell, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The low-pass voltage response of outer hair cells predicted by conventional equivalent circuit analysis would preclude the active force production at high frequencies. We have found that the band pass characteristics can be improved by introducing the piezoelectric properties of the cell wall. In contrast to the conventional analysis, the receptor potential does not tend to zero and at any frequency is greater than a limiting value. In addition, the phase shift between the transduction current and receptor potential tends to zero. The piezoelectric properties cause an additional, strain-dependent, displacement current in the cell wall. The wall strain is estimated on the basis of a model of the cell deformation in the organ of Corti. The limiting value of the receptor potential depends on the ratio of a parameter determined by the piezoelectric coefficients and the strain to the membrane capacitance. In short cells, we have found that for the low-frequency value of about 2-3 mV and the strain level of 0.1% the receptor potential can reach 0.4 mV throughout the whole frequency range. In long cells, we have found that the effect of the piezoelectric properties is much weaker. These results are consistent with major features of the cochlear amplifier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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