Specificity of action of vanadate to the organ of corti

Daniel C. Marcus, John E. Demott, Toshimitsu Kobayashi, Xian Xi Ge, Ruediger Thalmann

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Although vanadate strongly inhibits Na/K-ATPase activity of the stria vascularis in vitro, it initially causes no depression of the ouabain-sensitive endocochlear potential (EP) when perfused perilymphatically or via the vasculature. However, when the perilymph of scala tympani is replaced with artificial media containing 0.1 to 1 mM vanadate, there is a large (about 17 mV) increase in the EP of the second cochlear turn. Further experiments showed that the cochlear microphonics declined during the time in which the EP increased, and that the response of these two potentials to vanadate is greater in the second turn than in the first. Injection of 50 nl of 1 mM vanadate (in artificial endolymph) into the endolymphatic space of the second turn caused no increase in the EP. These results support the notion that the early effects of vanadate are on the contra-luminal membranes of cells of the organ of Corti rather than on the stria vascularis. By superimposing anoxia or furosemide (i.v.) upon vanadate intoxication, we determined that the initial increase of the compound EP due to vanadate alone was due to a reduction in magnitude of the negative component of the EP. It is argued that of the three prevalent theories concerning the generation of the negative EP, the data tend to support the hypothesis that the intracellular potential of the hair cells gives rise to the negative EP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalHearing research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 1981


  • endocochlear potential
  • endolymphatic injection
  • perilymphatic perfusion
  • vanadate
  • vascular perfusion


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