Organ of Corti
Overview / Function / Development
Animated drawing: realization S. Blatrix - conception: G. Rebillard / R. Pujol

Diagramatic overview of the function of the Organ of Corti (animated drawing)

For low and mid intensities sounds the function of the organ of Corti may be schematically summarised in 5 stages:
(1) Sounds waves move the basilar membrane (BM) up and down.
(2) Stereocilia of the OHCs , implanted in the tectorial membrane (TM), are bent and the cell is depolarised.
(3) Excited (depolarised) OHCs react by contracting (= electromotility): this is an active mechanism.
(4) Due to the tight coupling of OHCs with the BM and reticular lamina this active mechanism feeds energy back into the organ of Corti and IHCs are excited probably due to TM (Hensen's stripe) activation of stereocilia.
(5) The IHC-auditory nerve synapse is activated and a message is sent to the CNS.
Stages 2 to 5 are detailed below

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