Endolymph movements and endocochlear potential (EP) changes were measured during disturbances of perilymphatic pressure, induced by injecting artificial perilymph into scala tympani (ST) or scala vestibuli (SV) of the guinea pig cochlea. Injections were performed either with or without an outlet made in the opposite perilymphatic scala. Injections into ST without an outlet induced large pressure changes but virtually no endolymph movement or EP change. Injection at the same rate into ST with an outlet in SV produced smaller pressure changes which were accompanied by a basally- directed displacement of endolymph and significant EP changes. The magnitude of endolymph displacements and EP changes varied as a function of injection rate. Injections into SV, either with or without an outlet in ST, produced apically-directed endolymph displacement and EP changes. For the SV injections without an outlet, the cochlear aqueduct and round window are likely to provide an outlet and compliance, permitting flow along the perilymphatic scalae to occur even when no ST outlet was provided. We conclude that endolymph movements are not dependent on the absolute pressure of the perilymph, but instead occur when small, sustained pressure gradients are present across the cochlear partition, corresponding to times when perilymph flow is induced. This study demonstrates that in the normal, sealed cochlea, endolymph and EP are insensitive to fluid injections into ST, but are sensitive to fluid injections into SV. Endolymph movements are therefore unlikely to be generated by cerebrospinal fluid pressure fluctuations (such as those produced by respiration, posture changes, coughing, sneezing, etc) which are transmitted to ST by the cochlear aqueduct.
- Endolymphatic hydrops
- Perilymph fistula