The vestibular system contains two kinds of sensory receptors, one kind in the utricle and the saccule and the other in the semicircular ducts.
The utricle and the saccule are two large sacs, each containing a patch of hair cells in a macula. Each macula responds to linear acceleration and detects positional changes in the head relative to gravity. There are three semicircular ducts in the inner ear, each lying in a bony semicircular canal. Each semicircular duct contains an ampuUary crest of hair cells that detect changes in angular acceleration resulting from circular movements of the head. The three semicircular ducts, anterior, posterior, and horizontal, are oriented such that they he in the three planes of space. Circular movements of the head in any plane will depolarize hair cells in a semicircular duct in one labyrinth and hyperpolarize hair cells in the corresponding duct in the opposite labyrinth.
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