Inner ear hair cells. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. The crescent-shaped arrangements of hairs across top are the stereocilia. Each crescent lies atop a single cell. Magnification: x1000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
Inner ear hair cells, Scanning Electron Microscope. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sensory hair cells from the inner ear. These cells are surrounded by a fluid called endolymph. As sound enters the ear it causes waves to form in the endolymph, which in turn cause the hairs to move. The movement is converted to an electrical signal that is passed on to the brain. Each crescent-shaped arrangement of hairs lies atop a single cell.
We can hear because of clusters of specialized cilia (green) in the inner ear, called stereocilia. These actin-rich bundles protrude from the apical surface of hair cells lining the inner ear and vibrate in response to sound waves. In this image a single bundle of stereocilia projects from the epithelium of the papilla, a sensory patch in amphibian ears.