Chlorpromazine alters outer hair cell electromotility

Allen Jung Chen Lue, Hong Bo Zhao, William E. Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Outer hair cells (OHCs) of the inner ear rapidly convert electrical gradients into mechanical force, enhancing cochlear sensitivity and frequency selectivity. We investigated the effect of chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic medication that alters membrane biomechanics, on OHC electromotility. STUDY DESIGN: Isolated guinea pig outer hair cells were perfused with chlorpromazine under whole-cell patch-pipette recording conditions. Electromotile responses were measured. RESULTS: A dramatic, reversible, dose-dependent depolarization of voltage at peak capacitance (VpkCm) was seen with chlorpromazine treatment. The gain of the electromotile response was maximal near VpkCm both before and after chlorpromazine application. Unlike the 3 other agents that alter electromotility (salicylate, lanthanides, membrane tension), chlorpromazine did not change peak capacitance (Cmpk), which varies directly with maximal electromotile gain. CONCLUSION: Chlorpromazine changes the membrane voltage at which OHCs exhibit maximal electromotile gain, without changing the magnitude of electromotile responses. SIGNIFICANCE: Chlorpromazine may diminish hearing thresholds or otoacoustic emissions in large doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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