ATP-γ-S shifts the operating point of outer hair cell transduction towards scala tympani

Richard P. Bobbin, Alec N. Salt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


ATP receptor agonists and antagonists alter cochlear mechanics as measured by changes in distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE). Some of the effects on DPOAEs are consistent with the hypothesis that ATP affects mechano-electrical transduction and the operating point of the outer hair cells (OHCs). This hypothesis was tested by monitoring the effect of ATP-γ-S on the operating point of the OHCs. Guinea pigs anesthetized with urethane and with sectioned middle ear muscles were used. The cochlear microphonic (CM) was recorded differentially (scala vestibuli referenced to scala tympani) across the basal turn before and after perfusion (20 min) of the perilymph compartment with artificial perilymph (AP) and ATP-γ-S dissolved in AP. The operating point was derived from the cochlear microphonics (CM) recorded in response low frequency (200 Hz) tones at high level (106, 112 and 118 dB SPL). The analysis procedure used a Boltzmann function to simulate the CM waveform and the Boltzmann parameters were adjusted to best-fit the calculated waveform to the CM. Compared to the initial perfusion with AP, ATP-γ-S (333 μM) enhanced peak clipping of the positive peak of the CM (that occurs during organ of Corti displacements towards scala tympani), which was in keeping with ATP-induced displacement of the transducer towards scala tympani. CM waveform analysis quantified the degree of displacement and showed that the changes were consistent with the stimulus being centered on a different region of the transducer curve. The change of operating point meant that the stimulus was applied to a region of the transducer curve where there was greater saturation of the output on excursions towards scala tympani and less saturation towards scala vestibuli. A significant degree of recovery of the operating point was observed after washing with AP. Dose response curves generated by perfusing ATP-γ-S (333 μM) in a cumulative manner yielded an EC50 of 19.8 μM. The ATP antagonist PPADS (0.1 mM) failed to block the effect of ATP-γ-S on operating point, suggesting the response was due to activation of metabotropic and not ionotropic ATP receptors. Multiple perfusions of AP had no significant effect (118 and 112 dB) or moved the operating point slightly (106 dB) in the direction opposite of ATP-γ-S. Results are consistent with an ATP-γ-S induced transducer change comparable to a static movement of the organ of Corti or reticular lamina towards scala tympani.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalHearing research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • ATP receptor
  • ATP-γ-S
  • Basilar membrane mechanics
  • Cochlear microphonic
  • Operating point


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