The overlaying membrane of the cochlear duct, an extracellular matrix of the inner ear that contacts the stereocilia bundles of specialized sensory hair cells; sound induces movement of these hair cells relative to the tectorial membrane, deflects the stereocilia, and leads to fluctuations in hair cell membrane potential, transducing sound into electrical signals[MP,modified] [ MP:0003149 J:77634 ]

Synonyms: tectorial membrane tectorial membrane of spiral organ of cochlea

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Term information


uberon_slim, pheno_slim

external definition

The tectorial membrane (TM) is one of two acellular gels in the cochlea of the inner ear, the other being the basilar membrane (BM). The TM is located above the sulcus spiralis internus and the spiral organ of Corti and extends along the longitudinal length of the cochlea parallel to the BM. Radially the TM is divided into three zones, the limbal, middle and marginal zones. Of these the limbal zone is the thinnest (transversally) and overlies the auditory teeth of Huschke with its inside edge attached to the spiral limbus. The marginal zone is the thickest (transversally) and is divided from the middle zone by Hensen's Stripe. It overlies the sensory inner hair cells and electrically-motile outer hair cells of the organ of Corti and during acoustic stimulation stimulates the inner hair cells through fluid coupling, and the outer hair cells via direct connection to their tallest stereocilia[Wikipedia:Tectorial_membrane_(cochlea)].



taxon notes

in some squamate lineages, the tectorial membrane may not cover the whole cochlear duct/papilla. In some lineages, the tectorial membrane is divided into units called sallets[ISBN:9780387714691]