Inner ear fluid homeostasis

Daniel C. Marcus and Philine Wangemann

in Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Ear

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233397
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Inner ear fluid homeostasis

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article reviews homology between epithelial cells of the cochlea and vestibular system emphasizes the conservation of sensory and homeostatic mechanisms. The inner ear consists of an array of interconnected fluid compartments that include the cochlea, utricle, saccule, three ampullae and semicircular canals, the endolymphatic duct, and the endolymphatic sac. The composition of the luminal fluid, the end lymph, differs between different parts of the inner ear and from the surrounding fluid, the perilymph, and from cerebrospinal fluid and plasma. The establishment and maintenance of the specialized fluid composition and voltages in the inner ear rely on complex interactions between ion channels, pumps, transporters, barrier proteins, and regulatory signal pathways. One of the great challenges facing otolaryngology is to understand inner ear homeostasis on the level of the genome, the proteome, and the physiome.

Keywords: homeostatic mechanisms; inner ear; fluid compartments; fluid composition; otolaryngology; inner ear homeostasis

Article.  9414 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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