Organic material concentration in auditory outer hair cells measured by laser interferometry

Cytometry. 1995 May 1;20(1):1-6. doi: 10.1002/cyto.990200102.


Outer hair cells (OHC) of the mammalian cochlea are quasicylindrical cells of different length, which play a major role in hearing at threshold. Their particular shape allows the use of a noninvasive laser interferometric technique of isolated cells in vitro in order to measure the organic material concentration (OMC), hence the density of each cell body. In most (95%) of the OHCs isolated from the same guinea pig, when the cell diameter is normalized, the results show that the cell body OMC does not vary with cell length. In different animals, the respective normalized OMC mean values can vary between 70 kg/m3 and 103 kg/m3. A few OHCs with morphological particularities often possess cell body OMCs > 103 kg/m3. The results of the interferometric measurements in isolated OHCs confirm that density variations in the cell bodies are not involved in a sound frequency coding. The in vitro OMC variations of the OHCs could be related to the isolation procedure; however, they could also correlate with actual in vivo OMC variations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cell Size
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / chemistry
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer / cytology*
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Interference