Calcium gradients in inner ear endolymph

Alec N. Salt, Naoki Inamura, Ruediger Thalmann, Arti Vora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that endolymphatic hydrops resulting from the ablation of the endolymphatic duct and sac in guinea pigs may be caused by a disturbance of endolymph calcium homeostasis. A similar disturbance of calcium homeostasis could represent the underlying cause of Ménière's disease. In this study, we mapped the calcium concentrations and electrical potentials throughout the endolymphatic system in normal guinea pigs. Large concentration differences exist between different compartments, including a more than twofold increase along the length of the cochlea. The electrochemical potential for calcium (the force driving passive longitudinal calcium movement) was calculated for all the endolymphatic compartments. The results show that endolymph is extremely inhomogenous with respect to calcium potentials. On the basis of these potentials, it appears that calcium is transported into endolymph in the cochlea and out of endolymph in the saccule and utricle. The possibility that endolymphatic hydrops arises from a disturbance in longitudinal flow of calcium, rather than in longitudinal volume flow, is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-375
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989


  • calcium
  • cochlea
  • endolymph
  • hydrops


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