Measurement of basilar membrane motion in the guinea pig using the Mössbauer technique

J Acoust Soc Am. 1982 Jul;72(1):131-41. doi: 10.1121/1.387996.


Basilar membrane motion was measured at the 16-19 kHz place of the guinea pig cochlea using the Mössbauer technique. The threshold of the gross cochlear action potential (CAP) evoked by pure-tone bursts was used as an indication of neural threshold. CAP threshold deteriorated progressively after the cochlea was opened and the Mössbauer source placed on the basilar membrane. A close relationship was found between the amplitude of basilar membrane motion at the source place frequency and CAP threshold. Basilar membrane velocity at CAP threshold SPL was about 0.04 mm/s over a 60-dB range of CAP threshold. Intensity functions for basilar membrane motion were linear for frequencies more than an octave below the source place frequency but demonstrated progressive saturation for frequencies greater than an octave below the CF. This nonlinear behavior was eliminated as the CAP threshold became less sensitive and was absent post mortem. Isovelocity curves at the 0.04 mm/s criterion were remarkably similar to frequency threshold curves from primary afferent fibers innervating a similar place on the basilar membrane. The isovelocity curve was a better fit than the isoamplitude curve suggesting that inner hair cells respond to basilar membrane velocity. As the CAP threshold deteriorated, the isovelocit curves lost sensitivity around the best frequency, whereas sensitivity to frequencies below 10 kHz remained constant even after the animal was killed. We suggested that most of the frequency response and nonlinear behavior of inner hair cells and afferent fibers may be found in basilar motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Audiology / methods
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Basilar Membrane / physiology*
  • Ear, Inner / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / physiology
  • Movement
  • Vibration