Document Detail

A new quantitative model of total endolymph flow in the system of semicircular ducts.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3255007     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
1. A new concept of endolymph flow in the vertebrate vestibular system is presented. This approach describes quantitatively the flow in the entire system of three semicircular ducts interconnected by the utriculus and the crus commune. This approach is quite distinct from the classical theory in which the labyrinth is generally conceived to consist of three separate duct circuits. 2. The present approach shows the following set of distinct differences to the classical view: (a) In a labyrinth composed of three ducts perpendicular to each other the flow is non-zero in the other ducts when the labyrinth is rotated in the plane of a particular duct. (b) In a labyrinth with two equal ducts and with the duct planes under approximately 73 degrees the flow in one duct is zero when the rotation takes place in the plane of the other duct. Previous measurements of duct angles reflect this value surprisingly well. An obtuse or sharp angle between duct planes can lead to better performance of a particular labyrinth because the "external impulses" in the different ducts may amplify or compensate each other. (c) The behaviour of the flow in the entire labyrinth is a non-linear function of direction or rotation (cf. points (d), (e]. (d) Six time constants for the entire labyrinth can be distinguished (three long, three short); the flow in a particular duct is composed of six terms with these time constants. The composition of this flow and thus the relative importance of the terms depends on the positioning of the labyrinth with respect to the rotation vector. (e) The time constants also depend, for different labyrinths, on a shared influence of the dimensions of the ducts and the elastic properties of all three cupulae. (f) The forces in a particular duct depend also on the amount of motion the fluid will acquire in the other ducts. (g) The sensitivity of a particular duct depends also on the dimensions of the other parts in the vestibular system. 3. Equations for a system consisting of two ducts and for the classical single duct system are also given. Both systems are special cases of the three-duct system. The single duct equations are equivalent with equations given by Oman (1980) and Oman et al. (1987) which include the contribution of a wide utriculus. 4. The present theory of endolymph flow is mainly supported by the outcome of previously performed experiments concerning time constants and rotation of human subjects in different planes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
M Muller; J H Verhagen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of theoretical biology     Volume:  134     ISSN:  0022-5193     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Theor. Biol.     Publication Date:  1988 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1989-09-20     Completed Date:  1989-09-20     Revised Date:  2005-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376342     Medline TA:  J Theor Biol     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  473-501     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Department of Experimental Animal Morphology and Cell Biology, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Ear, Inner / anatomy & histology
Endolymph / physiology*
Labyrinthine Fluids / physiology*
Models, Biological
Semicircular Canals / anatomy & histology,  physiology*
Vertebrates / physiology*

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