Pharmacological evidence that endogenous ATP modulates cochlear mechanics

Ruth A. Skellett, Chu Chen, Maureen Fallon, Anastas P. Nenov, Richard P. Bobbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In the cochlea, outer hair cells (OHCs) and Deiters' cells most likely contribute to the generation of active cochlear mechanics. The presence of ATP receptors on these cells indicates that endogenous ATP may have a role in cochlear mechanics. To explore this possibility, the effects of ATP antagonists were studied both in vivo on distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) using cochlear perfusion and in vitro on isolated OHCs and Deiters' cells using the whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique. Results show that extracellular application of 5-10 μM ATP to OHCs and Deiters' cells induced an inward current that was reduced by both suramin (100 μM) and cibacron (100 μM). Cibacron reduced the voltage gated currents in Deiters' cells and increased them in OHCs, while suramin had no effect. In addition, cibacron induced a hyperpolarizing shift of the half activation voltage of the whole cell currents in Deiters' cells. Suramin (0.1-1 mM) reversibly suppressed the 'slow decline' in the quadratic DPOAE that occurs during continuous stimulation with moderate level primaries. This effect of suramin may be evidence that endogenous ATP alters active cochlear mechanics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-54
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cibacron blue
  • Deiters' cells
  • Ion channel
  • Otoacoustic emission
  • Outer hair cells
  • Suramin
  • Voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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