Anatomy of the inner ear

‡ Introduction ‡ Development ‡ ANATOMY
± Bony labyrinth vestibule - Cochlea - semicircular canals - Contents within bony labyrinth ± Membranous labyrinth - Cochlear duct - Organ of Corti - Utricle & Saccule - semicircular ducts - Sensory structures in maculae & cristae - Endolymphatic duct and sac ± Blood Supply of labyrinth

The Inner Ear 
The inner ear important organ for hearing and balance.  Consists of Bony labyrinth Membranous labyrinth

‡ ‡ Develops independent of middle and external ear. Phylogenetically, older semicircular canals and utricle (PARS SUPERIOR) precede development of saccule and cochlear duct (PARS INFERIOR) OTIC PLACODE( END OF 3RD WEEK) Lateral to hindbrain


OTOCYST (epithelial lining of membranous labyrinth derived)


completes 1 turn during the course of the week. from 8th week perilymphatic/bony labyrinth space formation begins.macula of saccule and ampullary crest of posterior SCC. .superior and inferior segments Superior segment . Inferior segment . Completes by 20 weeks. Cochlear duct extends from saccule.DEVELOPMENT 6th WEEK SCCs lumina has formed Macula communis . Completes 2.5 turns by 8 weeks 8 16 weeks otic labyrinth approaches adult configuration. ampullary crests of superior and lateral SCCs.macula of the utricle.

. the cochlea and vestibular labyrinth are fully formed.DEVELOPMENT ‡ Bony labyrinth petrous bone adjoining the labyrinth formed from cartilaginous otic capsule by endochondral ossification ‡ Cochlear modiolus trabecular dermal bone ‡ At 20 weeks.


‡ Comprises of bony & membranous labyrinth.ANATOMY ‡ Located in petrous part of temporal bone. ‡ BONY LABYRINTH COCHLEA VESTIBULE SEMICIRCULAR CANALS .

and antr. to SCCs ‡ Anterior wall opening leading into scala vestibuli ‡ Posterior part of vestibule 5 openings of the SCCs. ‡ Lateral wall oval window opening.VESTIBULE ‡ Central chamber of the bony labyrinth. postr to cochlea. closed by footplate of stapes and its annular ligament . ‡ Lies medial to tympanic cavity.

antr end vestibular pyramid ‡ postero superior to crista vestibuli Elliptical recess (for utricle) ‡ Opening of vestibular aqueduct. . contains endolymphatic duct. to saccule ‡ behind recess crista vestibuli. Of 8th Cranial n.VESTIBULE ‡ Medial wall Spherical recess (for saccule) perforated by several small foramina transmits the vestibular br.

SEMICIRCULAR CANALS ‡ 3 in number lateral. posterior and superior ‡ Lie in planes at right angles to each other.transverse to long axis of petrous temporal bone. ‡ Superior SCC vertical in orientation . under arcuate eminence . Ampullated end .antr. ‡ Each SCC has ampullated end (opens independently into vestibule) and non ampullated end (posterior and superior canals unite to form a common channel CRUS COMMUNE).upper and lateral part of vestibule .

. surface of petrous bone.non ampullated end opens below orifice of crus commune.almost parallel with postr. .anterior ampullated end .ampullated end opens low in the vestibule ‡ Crus commune opens into medial part of vestibule ‡ Lateral SCC directed horizontally backwards and laterally.upper and lateral angle of vestibule.SEMICIRCULAR CANALS ‡ Posterior SCC also vertical orientation . . . above oval window.

9 mm across its base ‡ Total length of cochlea 35 mm .75 turns around a central axis (Modiolus) ‡ most anterior part of the labyrinth ‡ 5 mm from base to apex.COCHLEA ‡ COCHLOS Snail ‡ Coiled for 2.

‡ Base faces bottom of internal acoustic meatus perforated by numerous apertures for cochlear n. ‡ Basal coil of cochlea forms PROMONTORY in middle ear .COCHLEA ‡ Apex (Cupula) points towards antero -superior area of medial wall of tympanic cavity.

COCHLEA ‡ openings at base of cochlea RW (facing tympanic cavity. closed by secondary tympanic membrane). Oval window (occupied by footplate of stapes) aqueduct of cochlea connects the scala tympani to the subarachnoid space .

COCHLEA .MODIOLUS ‡ Central cochlear pillar ‡ Base lies near lateral end of internal acoustic meatus. through bony spiral lamina to membranous labyrinth ‡ Rosenthal s canal contains spiral ganglion . ‡ Transmits the cochlear n.

‡ Osseus spiral lamina divides cochlea incompletely. gives attachment to Basilar membrane ‡ Bony cochlea is divided into 3 compartments : ‡ Scala vestibuli ‡ Scala media (membranous labyrinth) ‡ Scala tympani .COCHLEA ‡ ledge of bone projects into bony canal like thread of the screw osseus spiral lamina.

COCHLEA ‡ Scala Vestibuli closed by the footplate of stapes ‡ Scala vestibuli and scala tympani become continuous at the apex of the cochlea though helicotrema ‡ Scala tympani ends in round window. .

CONTENTS OF BONY LABYRINTH ‡ Space between bony labyrinth and membranous labyrinth filled with PERILYMPH. ‡ Rich in Na+. ‡ Drained via venules and middle ear mucosa. ‡ Perilymph resembles Cerebrospinal Fluid/ Extracellular Fluid. .


and the endolymphatic duct and sac (Vestibular apparatus). the 3 semicircular ducts. ‡ Primary absorption of endolymph Endolymphatic Sac . ‡ Contains endolymph (rich in K+).MEMBRANOUS LABYRINTH ‡ Continuous system of ducts contained within the bony labyrinth. utricle and saccule. ‡ Cochlear endolymph has positive electrical potential +85mV ‡ Consists of : cochlear duct. Produced by marginal cells in stria vascularis from perilymph at the cochlea and from dark cells in the cristae and maculae.

.COCHLEAR DUCT ‡ Cochlear Duct membranous cochlea/ scala media ‡ Bind coiled tube. ‡ Lower end of the cochlear duct connected to saccule by ductus reuniens ‡ Triangular in cross section. Closed upper end attached to Cupula.

0. ± Length 35 mm. .forms part of roof of the scala tympani ± Stretches from the bony spiral lamina to the crista basilaris on outer wall of cochlea.36mm at apex.COCHLEAR DUCT ‡ Walls formed by: ‡ Bony spiral lamina and Basilar membrane ‡ Reissner s membrane ‡ Stria vascularis ‡ Basilar membrane supports the organ of Corti. . width increases from base to apex.21 mm at base to 0.

separates the scala media from scala vestibuli.formed by 2 layers of squamous epithelium separated by basal lamina. . . .COCHLEAR DUCT ‡ Reissner s membrane extends from bony spiral lamina to outer wall of cochlear duct.

± Has special stratified epithelium continuing as dense intraepithelial capillary plexus. . ± Three cell types present: ‡ Marginal/chromophil cells ‡ Intermediate/chromophobe cells ‡ Basal cell ‡ stria vascularis mainly helps in secretion and maintainence of ionic composition of endolymph.COCHLEAR DUCT ‡ Stria Vascularis located on the outer wall of cochlear duct. Above the spiral eminence.

Tectorial membrane .ORGAN OF CORTI ‡ sense organ of hearing ‡ Situated on the basilar membrane ‡ Components are : 1. Tunnel of Corti 2. cells of Hensen. 4. Inner and outer hair cells 3. Supporting cells Dieter s cells. cells of Claudius.

TUNNEL OF CORTI ‡ Formed by the inner and outer rod cells / pillar cells. outer rods . .4000 ‡ The two rows of cells incline into each other and come into contact above at the heads of the pillars ‡ Tunnel of corti lies in between the inner and outer rods and the basilar membrane below. ‡ This space contains a fluid known as cortilymph. ‡ Inner rods 6000.

Stereocilia in inner hair cells are arranged in a smoothly curved line of 2 or 3 rows of stereocilia. INNER HAIR CELLS 3500 in number Flask shaped Form a single row.INNER AND OUTER HAIR CELLS ‡ Important receptor cells of hearing and transduce sound energy into electrical energy. Richly supplied by afferent cochlear nerve fibres. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ . More resistant to damage by ototoxic drugs/ high intensity noise. ‡ Both hair cells contain hair bundles of regular microvilli (stereocilia) on their flat apical ends.

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ OUTER HAIR CELLS 12000 in number. Concerned with modulating the function of inner hair cells Can be easily damaged by ototoxic drugs/ high intensity noise. . Stereocilia arranged in a shallow V shape Outer hair cells mainly receive efferent innervation from olivary complex. Cylindrical shape Outer hair cells are arranged into 3 4 rows.

. ‡ Expanded bases lie on the basilar membrane and apical ends partially envelope bases of the hair cells with finger-like phalangeal process extending up diagonally between the hair cells to the reticular membrane.SUPPORTING CELLS ‡ DEITER S CELLS External phalangeal cells ‡ Lie between outer row of outer hair cells. ‡ forms a plate like expansion to complete gaps between hair cell apices.

‡ Cells of Hensen 5 to 6 rows of columnar supporting cells lying externally to the outer hair cell. ‡ Near the base of the cochlea. ‡ Cells of Claudius lie external to the cells of Hensen. ‡ Reticular Lamina/membrane delicate framework perforated with circular holes. which are occupied by apices of outer hair cells. another group of cells present among bases of the phalangeal cells Boetcher s cells. . Their surfaces bear microvilli. Completed by several rows of minute cuticular phalanges. ‡ Extends from the heads of external rods to outer row of outer hair cells.

‡ Thin on the modiolar side. ‡ Shearing force between hair cells and tectorial membrane produces the stimulus to the hair cells. . where it is attached to the vestibular lip of the limbus laminae spiralis. ‡ Extends centrally as far as the vestibular membrane. ‡ Overlies the organ of corti ‡ Has a characteristic shape underside nearly flat and upper surface convex.TECTORIAL MEMBRANE ‡ Consists of a gelatinous matrix with delicate fibres.

the middle of which endolymphatic duct arises . Number of labyrinthine ducts open into it ‡ Laterally. the crus communale. the ampulae of lateral and superior SCCs ‡ Medially. ampulla of posterior SCC. Occupies the posterosuperior region of the bony vestibule.UTRICLE AND SACCULE ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ UTRICLE Irregular. dilated sac. . oblong. In contact with the elliptical recess and area inferior to it. and posterior end of lateral SCC ‡ Utriculosaccular duct connects utricle to saccule.originates from the utricle s anteromedial surface and follows Vshaped course.

lies horizontally with its long axis posteriorly oriented. ‡ Flat except for the anterior edge gently folded onto itself ‡ Covering the epithelial surface .Macula of utricle ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Specialised area of neurosensory epithelium Largest of the vestibular sensory areas Triangular or shield shaped in surface view.statoconial membrane (gelatinous layer in which otoconia are embedded) .

‡ Statoconial membrane .superficial stratum . basal gelatinous layer .can be divided into 3 layers: 1. 2. external layer consisting of otoliths (calcium carbonate) of varying sizes attached to basal layer.deeper honeycomb layer stereocilia & kinocilia of sensory cells are inserted in this layer .layer of extracellular material .

‡ Curved median ridge runs along the length of statoconial membrane corresponds underlying sensory epithelium (Striola) ‡ Striola divides macula into pars interna medially and pars externa laterally. ‡ Macula of both Utricle and Saccule detect linear acceleration .


which divides the saccule into pars interna superiorly and pars externa inferiorly. covered by statoconial membrane. . and to cochlea by ductus reuniens.SACCULE ‡ Slightly elongated Globular sac. ‡ Connected to the utricle and endolymphatic duct by utriculosaccular duct. lies in a vertical plane on saccule s side wall. and possesses striola. ‡ Like macula of utricle. ‡ Lies in the spherical recess near the opening of the cochlea s scala vestibuli. ‡ Saccular macula elliptical structure.

. ‡ Medial ends of the superior and lateral SCC fuse to form a single common duct CRUS COMMUNALE ‡ Lateral end of each canal is dilated to form an ampulla.SEMICIRCULAR DUCTS ‡ Detect angular acceleration ‡ Follow the course of osseous canals ‡ 1/4th the diameter of the semicircular canals in size. ‡ Membranous wall of each ampulla contains transverse elevation septum transversum. ‡ On the septum there is a sensory area Crista ampullaris.

»Sectioned across this ridge. . This projects far into the lumen of ampulla. »Attached along free edge of the crista is a vertical plate of gelatinous extracellular material CUPULA. cristae of superior and lateral SCCs have smoothly rounded corners.‡ Crista ampullaris »Saddle shaped ridge »Lies transversely along the duct »Broadly concave on its free edge along most of its length. while that of posterior SCC is more angular.


‡ Sensory cells 2 types : ‡ Type 1 vestibular sensory cells ‡ Type 2 vestibular sensory cells .Sensory structures in Maculae and cristae ‡ Sensory epithelia of maculae and cristae consist of: » Mechanoreceptive cells » Non sensory supporting cells » Afferent and efferent nerve endings of vestibular nerve fibres by synapses at bases.

. ± from apical surface. 30 50 stereocilia and single kinocilium. .‡ Type 1 cells ± bottle shaped with narrow neck. .Mostly cylindrical in shape.variable in size.both afferent and efferent nerve endings attach over the sensory cell. ± Afferent nerve endings calyx ± efferent nerve endings attach over the calyx ‡ Type 2 cells . ± Basal part of cell doesn t reach basal lamina of epithelium.

structurally and functionally. In lateral crista kinocilia are on the side towards utricle In superior and posterior crista kinocilia are away from utricle.Orientation of sensory cells: Macula Utriculi sensory cells are oriented towards the striola. . Cristae cells are oriented along with their rows of stereocilia at right angles to the long axis of the semicircular duct. Macula Sacculi sensory cells are oriented away from the striola.

. »Becomes dilated distally to form the Endolymphatic sac Endolymphatic sac »Terminal part of endolymphatic duct »Lies in between two layers of dura on the posterior surface of petrous bone.ENDOLYMPHATIC DUCT & SAC Endolymphatic Duct »Runs along the bony tunnel of bony vestibular aqueduct.

Vestibular and common cochlear arteries. ‡ Divides into Antr.BLOOD SUPPLY OF LABYRINTH Arterial blood supply ‡ Mainly by the internal auditory/labyrinthine artery br. ‡ Vein of cochlear aqueduct ‡ Vein of vestibular aqueduct . of AICA ‡ Sometimes supplied by the basilar artery. Venous drainage: 3 veins ‡ Internal auditory vein.


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