Hair bundle profiles along the chick basilar papilla

R. K. Duncan, K. E. Ile, M. G. Dubin, J. C. Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cochlear hair cells play a central role in the transduction of sound into neural output. Anatomical descriptions of these cells, and their protruding hair bundles, are of fundamental interest since hair cell transduction is dependent on hair bundle micromechanics and hair bundle micromechanics depends on hair bundle morphology. In this paper, we describe quantitatively changes in the staircase profile of the hair bundle along the apical portion of the chick's basilar papilla. Images of hair cells from 8 discretely dissected segments of the apical 3rd of the basilar papilla were archived, and the profile contour outlined by the tips of the stereocilia was digitised and curves were fitted by linear and power equations. The hair bundles of tall hair cells exhibited both linear and curvilinear profiles, which were equally distributed along the papilla. All short hair cells in our sample had straight contours. The differences in hair bundle shape among the tall hair cells may lead to differential susceptibility to injury and some variance in the current-displacement transduction curves due to differences in the translation of forces throughout the hair bundle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory system
  • Hair cells
  • Stereocilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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