Electrostatic interaction between stereocilia: II. Influence on the mechanical properties of the hair bundle

Sergei G. Dolgobrodov, Andrei N. Lukashkin, Ian J. Russell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper is based on our model [Dolgobrodov et al., 2000. Hear. Res., submitted for publication] in which we examine the significance of the polyanionic surface layers of stereocilia for electrostatic interaction between them. We analyse how electrostatic forces modify the mechanical properties of the sensory hair bundle. Different charge distribution profiles within the glycocalyx are considered. When modelling a typical experiment on bundle stiffness measurements, applying an external force to the tallest row of stereocilia shows that the asymptotic stiffness of the hair bundle for negative displacements is always larger than the asymptotic stiffness for positive displacements. This increase in stiffness is monotonic for even charge distribution and shows local minima when the negative charge is concentrated in a thinner layer within the cell coat. The minima can also originate from the co-operative effect of electrostatic repulsion and inter-ciliary links with non-linear mechanical properties. Existing experimental observations are compared with the predictions of the model. We conclude that the forces of electrostatic interaction between stereocilia may influence the mechanical properties of the hair bundle and, being strongly non-linear, contribute to the non-linear phenomena, which have been recorded from the auditory periphery. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)94-103
    Number of pages10
    JournalHearing Research
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2000


    • Cochlear non-linearity
    • Electrostatic interaction
    • Glycocalyx
    • Hair cell


    Dive into the research topics of 'Electrostatic interaction between stereocilia: II. Influence on the mechanical properties of the hair bundle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this