Mechanoelectrical transduction by hair cells

Trends Neurosci. 1992 Jul;15(7):254-9. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(92)90066-h.


Hair cells of the inner ear are one of nature's great success stories, appearing early in vertebrate evolution and having a similar form in all vertebrate classes. They are specialized columnar epithelial cells, with an array of modified microvilli or stereocilia on their apical surface, interconnected by a series of linkages. The mechanical stimulus causes deflection of the stereocilia, stretching linkages between them, and opening the mechanotransducer channels. On a slower timescale, hair cells adapt in order to maintain optimum sensitivity, with an adaptation motor within the stereocilia acting to keep the resting tension on channels constant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cilia / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / ultrastructure
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Vertebrates / physiology


  • Calcium