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Hear Res. 1990 Nov;49(1-3):127-39.

Reconstructions of efferent fibers in the postnatal hamster cochlea.

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  • 1Biology Department, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.

Abstract

It is well known that adult-like physiological functioning of the mammalian postnatal cochlea occurs coincidentally with the presence of efferent synapses on outer hair cells (OHCs). This study described the cochlear innervation patterns of thick efferent fibers traveling in the vestibular nerve in postnatal hamsters ranging in age from day zero to day 10. At least three kinds of efferent fibers were labeled via an in vitro horseradish peroxidase (HRP) technique: varicose, thin efferents; nonvaricose, thin efferents; and nonvaricose, thick efferents. Nonvaricose thick efferents were reconstructed from the basal third of the cochlea. Reconstructed efferent fibers traversed in the intraganglionic spiral bundle (IGSB) on the peripheral edge of the spiral ganglion and branched profusely in the osseous spiral lamina (OSL). From day zero to day five, large (greater than 1.0 microns) diameter nonvaricose efferent fibers gave rise to branches that either terminated underneath inner hair cells or appeared to end blindly in the OSL. Efferent fibers also had branches that traveled in the inner spiral bundle (ISB) and tunnel spiral bundle (TSB). In cochleae from hamsters six to eight days old, some thin and thick diameter efferent fibers contacted both inner and outer hair cells. By the tenth day, large diameter fibers traveled radially across the tunnel of Corti to terminate on one to five OHCs. As early as day seven, large diameter fibers also appear to terminate preferentially on OHCs in row one. These observations are consistent with the notion that the end of the first postnatal week represents a critical period in the formation of adult-like synapses on the OHCs. The data also suggest a developmental transition period when efferent fibers contact both hair cell types before contacting OHCs separately.

PMID:
2292493
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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