Negative membrane capacitance of outer hair cells: electromechanical coupling near resonance

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 21;7(1):12118. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12411-6.


Outer hair cells in the cochlea have a unique motility in their cell body based on mechanoelectric coupling, with which voltage changes generated by stimuli at their hair bundles drive the cell body and, in turn, it has been assumed, amplifies the signal. In vitro experiments show that the movement of the charges of the motile element significantly increases the membrane capacitance, contributing to the attenuation of the driving voltage. That is indeed the case in the absence of mechanical load. Here it is predicted, however, that the movement of motile charges creates negative capacitance near the condition of mechanical resonance, such as those in the cochlea, enhancing energy output.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Electric Capacitance*
  • Equipment Design
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / chemistry
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Models, Biological