The otolithic organs (saccule and utricle

detect the orientation and linear
acceleration of the head
The otolithic organs are a pair of relatively
large chambers
 saccule
 utricle — near the center of the
Otolithic organs as well as the semicircular
canals are
(1) lined by epithelial cells
(2) filled with endolymph
(3) surrounded by perilymph and;
(4) encased in the temporal bone.
vestibular dark cells
 secrete K+
 responsible for the high [K+] of
the endolymph

sensory epithelium of saccule
and utricle.
contains the hair cells that lie
among a bed of supporting cells.

otolithic membrane
 mass of mucopolysaccharides
that is studded with otoliths or


kinocilia point away from a
curving reversal line.

kinocilia point toward the reversal


Semicircular canals
 sense acceleration, but not the
linear acceleration that the
otolithic organs prefer.
 stimulate their hair cells
differently from the otolithic
Angular acceleration
 generated by sudden head
rotations is the primary stimulus
for the semicircular canals.
Crista ampullaris
 clustered hair cells with sensory

project into a gelatinous, domeshaped structure
spans the lumen of the ampulla
no otoconia
not sensitive to linear

* If head rotation constant velocity  friction
of endolymph with the canal walls two move
together  bending of the cupula
 seconds.
* rotation stopped  the inertia of the
endolymph 
bending the cupula in the other direction 
gives a temporary sensation of counterrotation..

3 semicircular canals that lie in approximately
orthogonal planes:
a. anterior canal

project to multiple hair cells,
increasing the signal-to-noise


The semicircular canals detect the angular
acceleration of the head

project to the ipsilateral vestibular
nucleus in the brainstem


tilted ~41 degrees anterolaterally
from the sagittal plane.
b. posterior canal
 tilted ~56 degrees
posterolaterally from the sagittal

Psychoacoustic phon scale  accounts for differences in perception Outer ear >pinna . > acoustic impedance oppose movement brought about by a pressure wave.begins at its large end near the oval window—where vibrations enter the inner ear. scala tympani . scala vestibule . Reissner’s membrane b.most visible part >tragus . can be a pure tone of a single frequency measured in hertz (Hz) pure-tone audiogram Decibel sound pressure level (dB SPL)  which relates the absolute sound intensity (PT) to a reference pressure (Pref) of 20 μPa.terminates at its basal or large end at the round window * Both the scala vestibuli and scala tympani are lined by a network of fibrocytes and filled with perilymph. b.. lateral canal  tipped ~25 degrees back from the horizontal plane Two tiny muscles of the middle ear: > tensor tympani (malleus) > stapedius (stapes) * control over the stiffness of the ossicular chain and their contraction serves to dampen the transfer of sound to the inner ear Outer and middle ears collect and condition air pressure waves for transduction within the inner ear Sound        perceptual phenomenon that is produced by periodic longitudinal waves low pressure (rarefactions) high pressure (compressions) propagate through air at a speed of 330 to 340 m/s. scala media c. Basilar membrane a.> serves as an impedancematching device c. close to the average human threshold at 2000 Hz. helicotrema  two perilymphs communicate through a small opening   . > localization of sounds in the vertical plane Middle ear > eustachian tube .makes it possible to equalize the air pressure on opposite sides of the tympanic membrane > transfer vibrations of the tympanic membrane to the oval window 3 delicate bones (ossicles): > malleus (or hammer) >incus (anvil) >stapes (stirrup) *ossicles – smallest bones in the body.5 times into a snail shape about the size of a large pea million moving parts Two membranes divide the cochlea into three fluid-filled compartments: a. fluid-filled tubes cochlea       auditory portion of the inner ear tubular structure ~35 mm long coiled 2. 2 |SENSORY TRANSDUCTION (Part 2) The cochlea is a spiral of three parallel.small extension >external auditory canal sound waves funnel >focus sound waves on the tympanic membrane.

Step 11: Transduction channels open in inner hair cells Step 12: Depolarization opens voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. looser strings that vibrate at low frequencies.Young humans 3 |SENSORY TRANSDUCTION (Part 2) can hear sounds Rate coding . the envelope shifts progressively toward the basal end The basilar membrane resembles a harp. AND PAIN Somatosensory receptors covers the:  skin.  Inner hair cells transduce sound.subjective experience of tonal discrimination ~20 to 20. vibration. Auditory focus.  cardiovascular system Receptors: 1. Step 6: Transduction channels open in outer hair cells. The frequency sensitivity of auditory hair cells depends on their position along the basilar membrane of the cochlea pitch.suppressing responsiveness to unwanted sounds—allowing us to hear even in noisy environments. whereas the active movements of outer hair cells amplify the signal Movements of the stapes against the oval window create traveling pressure waves within the cochlear fluids. Step 2: Scala vestibuli pressure falls below scala tympani pressure. mechanoreceptors. near the oval and round windows—it has short. out of the inner sulcus. Step 4: Organ of Corti shears toward hinge of tectorial membrane.000 Hz . Step 10: Inner hair cell hair bundles bend toward longer stereovilli. Step 13: Synaptic vesicles fuse. Step 8: Contraction of outer hair cells accentuates upward movement of basilar membrane. taut strings that vibrate at high frequencies. Step 9: Endolymph sloshes beneath the tectorial membrane.  At one end— the base. Step 5: Hair bundles of outer hair cells tilt toward their longer stereovilli. PROPRIOCEPTION.transduce pressure. Step 3: Basilar membrane bows upward.  At the other end—the apex—it has longer. thermoreceptors. stretch.endocochlear potential  highest transepithelial voltage in the body  main driving force for sensory transduction in both inner and outer hair cells. releasing glutamate.  subcutaneous tissue  skeletal muscles  bones and joints  major internal organs  epithelia and. Step 1: Stapes moves outward.gauge temperature   . Step 7: Depolarization contracts the motor protein prestin. SOMATIC SENSORY RECEPTORS. and tissue damage 2.Increases in sound amplitude cause an increase in the rate of action potentials in these sensory neurons Two properties of the basilar membrane underlie the low-apical to high-basal gradient of resonance:  taper  stiffness Georg von Békésy:  Low frequencies generate their maximal amplitudes near the apex  As sound frequency increases.

axons are small. Neurons  sensitive to changes in temperature Temperature sensitivity has two consequences :  neurons can measure temperature  to work properly.  largest and best studied mechanoreceptor  subcutaneous tissue of both glabrous and hairy skin ** The encapsulated Pacini’s corpuscle is an example of a rapidly adapting sensor. and pain (nociception). Mechanoreceptors in the skin provide sensitivity to specific stimuli. chemoreceptors . Krause’s end bulbs  innervate the border areas of dry skin and mucous membranes  probably rapidly adapting mechanoreceptors.  damage from sunlight. Skin protects:  preventing evaporation of body fluids  invasion by microbes  abrasion and. most neural circuits need to be kept at a relatively stable temperature ** Thermoreceptors. Merkel’s disks  slowly adapting receptors  made from a flattened.3.smallest-diameter myelinated Meissner’s corpuscles  ridges of glabrous skin  rapidly adapting Ruffini’s corpuscles  resemble diminutive Pacini’s corpuscles 4 |SENSORY TRANSDUCTION (Part 2) Types of receptors vary with temperature:  Warmth receptors o begin firing above ~30°C o increase their firing rate until 44°C to 46°C   . either unmyelinated Aδ fibers .sense a variety of substances Four sensory modalities:     senses of touch temperature body position (proprioception). are not spread uniformly across the skin. such as vibration and steady pressure     subcutaneous tissue of both hairy and glabrous skin “fluttering” vibrations slowly adapting receptors respond best to low frequencies. Two major types of mammalian skin: Separate thermoreceptors detect warm and cold   Glabrous skin (hairless). nonneural epithelial cell that synapses on a nerve terminal  lie at the border of the dermis and epidermis of glabrous skin.palms of our hands and fingertips and on the soles of our feet and pads of our toes. whereas the decapsulated nerve ending is an example of a slowly adapting sensor. Hairy skin (hairiness) Pacini’s corpuscle. like mechanoreceptors. C fibers.

thermal. and chemical stimuli. Sensitivities of the spindle and the tendon organ are due partly to their structures but also to their placement:   intrafusal muscle o spindles are located in modified muscle fibers extrafusal skeletal muscle fibers o aligned in parallel with the “ordinary” force-generating *** Golgi tendon organs are aligned in series with the extrafusal fibers. or muscles that have been damaged or inflamed are unusually sensitive to further stimuli 5 |SENSORY TRANSDUCTION (Part 2)   .  Nociceptors  receptors mediating painful feelings  Nociceptors vary in their selectivity:     Mechanical nociceptors o strong pressure Thermal nociceptors o signal either burning heat o unhealthy cold o heat-sensitive nociceptive neurons (TRPV1 and TRPV2 channels) o cold-sensitive nociceptors express (TRPA1 and TRPM8 channels) Chemically sensitive o mechanically insensitive nociceptors polymodal nociceptors o sensitive to combinations of mechanical. Cold receptors o much broader temperature response o relatively quiet at skin temperatures of ~40°C o steady discharge rate increases as the temperature falls to 24°C to 28°C Nociceptors are specialized sensory endings that transduce painful stimuli o Primary hyperalgesia  damaged tissue o secondary hyperalgesia  ~20 minutes after an injury  supersensitive Muscle spindles sense changes in the length of skeletal muscle fibers. Hyperalgesia  Skin. whereas Golgi tendon organs gauge the muscle’s force Proprioception  provides this sense of self and serves two main purposes Two mechanosensitive proprioceptors: Physical energy that is informative at low and moderate levels can be destructive at higher intensity. joints. they provide a full description of the dynamic state of each muscle. the muscle spindles (or stretch receptors) o measure the length and rate of stretch of the muscles Golgi tendon organs o gauge the force generated by a muscle by measuring the tension in its tendon *** Together.