How Do the Medial Olivocochlear Efferents Influence the Biomechanics of the Outer Hair Cells and Thereby the Cochlear Amplifier? Simulation Results
2015 (English)In: MECHANICS OF HEARING: PROTEIN TO PERCEPTION, AMER INST PHYSICS , 2015, Vol. 1703, no 090030Conference paper (Refereed)Text
The bottom-up signal pathway, which starts from the outer ear and leads to the brain cortices, gives the classic image of the human sound perception. However, there have been growing evidences in the last six decades for existence of a functional descending network whereby the central auditory system can modulate the early auditory processing, in a top-down manner. The medial olivocochlear efferent fibers project from the superior olivary complex at the brainstem into the inner ear. They are linked to the basal poles of the hair cells by forming synaptic cisterns. This descending network can activate nicotinic cholinergic receptors (nAChR) that increase the membrane conductance of the outer hair cells and thereby modify the magnitude of the active force generated inside the cochlea. The aim of the presented work is to quantitatively investigate how the changes in the biomechanics of the outer hair cells, caused by the efferent activation, manipulate the cochlear responses. This is done by means of a frequency-domain biophysical model of the cochlea [ 12] where the parameters of the model convey physiological interpretations of the human cochlear structures. The simulations manifest that a doubling of the outer hair cell conductance, due to efferent activation, leads to a frequency-dependent gain reduction along the cochlear duct with its highest effect at frequencies between 1 kHz and 3.5 kHz and a maximum of approximately 10 dB gain reduction at 2 kHz. This amount of the gain inhibition and its frequency dependence reasonably agrees with the experimental data recorded from guinea pig, cat and human cochleae where the medial olivococlear efferents had been elicited by broad-band stimuli. The simulations also indicate that the efferent-induced increase of the outer hair cell conductance increases the best frequency of the cochlear responses, in the basal region. The presented simulations quantitatively confirm that activation of the medial olivocochlear efferents can biomechanically manipulate the cochlear responses, in a top-down manner, by inhibiting the gain of the cochlear amplifier as well as altering the frequency-position map (tuning pattern) of the cochlea.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER INST PHYSICS , 2015. Vol. 1703, no 090030
, AIP Conference Proceedings, ISSN 0094-243X
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-127077DOI: 10.1063/1.4939428ISI: 000372065400115ISBN: 978-0-7354-1350-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-127077DiVA: diva2:919329
12th International Workshop on the Mechanics of Hearing