K+ cycling and the endocochlear potential

Hearing Research
Philine Wangemann

Abstract

Sensory transduction in the cochlea and the vestibular labyrinth depends on the cycling of K+. In the cochlea, endolymphatic K+ flows into the sensory hair cells via the apical transduction channel and is released from the hair cells into perilymph via basolateral K+ channels including KCNQ4. K+ may be taken up by fibrocytes in the spiral ligament and transported from cell to cell via gap junctions into strial intermediate cells. Gap junctions may include GJB2, GJB3 and GJB6. K+ is released from the intermediate cells into the intrastrial space via the KCNJ10 K+ channel that generates the endocochlear potential. From the intrastrial space, K+ is taken up across the basolateral membrane of strial marginal cells via the Na+/2Cl-/K+ cotransporter SLC12A2 and the Na+/K+-ATPase ATP1A1/ATP1B2. Strial marginal cells secrete K+ across the apical membrane into endolymph via the K+ channel KCNQ1/KCNE1, which concludes the cochlear cycle. A similar K+ cycle exists in the vestibular labyrinth. Endolymphatic K+ flows into the sensory hair cells via the apical transduction channel and is released from the hair cells via basolateral K+ channels including KCNQ4. Fibrocytes connected by gap junctions including GJB2 may be involved in delivering...Continue Reading

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