Distribution of ciliated cells in the human middle ear: Electron and light microscopic observations

Tadao Shimada, David J. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The mucous membranes of 66 normal human Eustachian tubes, middle ears, and mastoid air cells were examined using the SEM, TEM and light microscopes. The density of population in the ciliated cells ranged from dense to sparse in the following areas in this order: Eustachian tube, hypotympanum, anterior of epitympanic recess, anterior and posterior parts of the promontory, peripheral part of the epitympanic membrane, posterior of epitympanic recess, prominence of the facial canal, ossicles, antrum, perifacial area in the mastoid air cell, and the rest of the mastoid air cells. The pattern of ciliated cell distribution and the fact that mucous droplets and a mucous blanket could be seen frequently on the lining of the Eustachian tube, middle ear, and mastoid air cells further support the concept that middle ear clearance is carried out by an active mucociliary system in most parts. Numbers of ciliated cells are not static but change rapidly to local demands in such situations as infection and serous effusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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