Two models of outer hair cell stiffness and motility

Peter Dallos, David Z.Z. He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Cochlear outer hair cells change their axial dimension and theiraxial stiffness when their membrane potential is altered. These changes appear to be highly correlated. Because of this, we endeavored to produce models that would yield both phenomena via a single mechanism. Two models are proposed. In one, it is assumed that elementary motor molecules can be in either of two conformational states, these having different physical lengths and stiffnesses. The state of the molecule is taken to be a stochastic function of membrane potential and is expressed by a Boltzmann relationship. In the other model, a similar dependence is assumed to occur between membrane potential and stiffness, but no dimensional change is assigned to the molecule. Length changes can be had by preloading the cell. We show that either general model can produce realistic length and stiffness changes with an appropriate selection of parameters. One particular realization of the first model is proposed as an example. In this - the boomerang model - the molecule is assumed to be ∠-shaped, with two different angles between the two legs representing the conformational states. Finally, the behavior of the model is compared with available data when the voltage stimulus comprises a brief sinusoid upon a DC pedestal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalJARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems


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