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Hear Res. 1998 Mar;117(1-2):161-72.

Distribution of Eph-related molecules in the developing and mature cochlea.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA. bianchil@MUSC.edu


Receptors and ligands of the Eph family have recently been shown to influence the development of a variety of tissues. In the present study, the temporal and spatial distribution of Eph receptors and ligands were investigated in the embryonic and postnatal cochlea using Northern blot and immunohistochemical analysis. The results of Northern blot experiments revealed that a large number of Eph family members were present in embryonic cochlear and vestibular ganglia. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that ligands and receptors of the GPI subclass were distributed in complementary patterns within the differentiating spiral limbus, inner sulcus and outer sulcus. The distribution of these molecules became more restricted beginning in the first postnatal week. In contrast, members of the transmembrane subclass of Eph ligands were largely associated with cochlear neurons and their target hair cells. Expression of these ligands appeared to increase during the second postnatal week, corresponding to the period of peripheral nerve fiber reorganization in the cochlea. Together, these studies suggest that multiple Eph family members play unique roles in formation of the cochlea.

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