Noise-induced transient microlesions in the cell membranes of auditory hair cells

Michael J. Mulroy, William R. Henry, Paul L. McNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Several types of nonauditory cells recover from transitory mechanically induced microlesions in their cell membranes. We report evidence that hair cells in the auditory papilla of the alligator lizard suffered similar membrane wounding when exposed to noise loud enough to induce a temporary threshold shift. Lucifer yellow, a molecular marker that does not normally penetrate through the cell membrane into the cytoplasm, was introduced into the extracellular fluid bathing the basolateral membrane of the hair cells. We assessed the effect of loud noise on the function of the ear by measuring compound action potentials of the auditory nerve before exposure to the noise, immediately after cessation of the noise, and after recovering overnight. Hair cells that were exposed to the noise took up much more Lucifer yellow than hair cells that were not exposed. We propose that the Lucifer yellow entered the hair cells via noise-induced lesions in their cell membranes, and that the cells were able to survive and recover functionally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Cell membrane wounding
  • Hair cell membrane lesion
  • Lizard
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Temporary threshold shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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