Vol. 4, No. 4, 2009

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ISSN: 1559-3959
A multiscale model of the organ of Corti

Charles R. Steele, Jacques Boutet de Monvel and Sunil Puria

Vol. 4 (2009), No. 4, 755–778

The organ of Corti is the sensory epithelium in the cochlea of the inner ear. It is modeled as a shell-of-revolution structure with continuous and discrete components. Our recent work has been on the inclusion of the viscous fluid. Measurements from various laboratories provide the opportunity to refocus on the elastic properties. The current detailed model for the organ of Corti is reasonably consistent with diverse measurements. Most components have little stiffness in the propagation direction. However, the isotropic stiffness of the pillar heads is found to offer an explanation for the difference in point load and pressure measurements. The individual rows of inner hair cell stereocilia with tip links and the Hensen stripe are included, since these details are important for the determination of the neural excitation. The results for low frequency show a phase of tip link tension similar to auditory nerve measurements. The nonlinearity of fluid in the small gaps is considered. A result is that as amplitude increases, because of the near contact with the Hensen stripe, the excitation changes polarity, similar to the peak-splitting neural behavior sometimes observed.

model, cochlea, Corti, pillars, tip link, point load
Supplementary material

AVI file: animation simulation of organ of Corti at the apex of the guinea pig cochlea

Received: 8 December 2008
Accepted: 26 January 2009
Published: 7 August 2009
Charles R. Steele
Stanford University
Mechanical Engineering
Durand Building, Room 262
Stanford, CA 94305-4035
United States
Jacques Boutet de Monvel
Unité de Génétique et Physiologie de L’Audition
Inserm UMRS 587
Institut Pasteur
25 Rue du Dr. Roux
75724 Paris
cedex 15
Sunil Puria
Stanford University
Mechanical Engineering
Durand Building, Room 262
Stanford, CA
United States
Stanford University
Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery
Stanford, CA 94305
United States