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Hear Res. 2001 May;155(1-2):103-12.

Three-dimensional and ultrastructural relationships between intermediate cells and capillaries in the gerbil stria vascularis.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, Kochi Medical School, Nankoku 783-8505, Japan. takeuchi@kochi-ms.ac.jp

Abstract

Structural relationships between intermediate cells and capillaries in the stria vascularis of gerbils were examined by confocal laser microscopy and electron microscopy. Immunostaining for an inward rectifier K(+) channel (Kir4.1), which was localized to intermediate cells, was used to determine the three-dimensional distribution of intermediate cells. These cells constituted a honeycomb-like network, and their dendritic processes surrounded not only capillaries but also the basolateral surface of epithelial marginal cells. On the basis of the above finding and the large K(+) conductance in intermediate cells, we propose that the network composed of intermediate cells has a spatial K(+) buffering function. Transmission electron microscopy revealed the absence of the basal lamina in some regions and the presence of a gap junction-like membrane association between intermediate cells and pericytes and/or endothelial cells. This result supported our previous finding that intermediate cells were dye-coupled with pericytes and endothelial cells. The presence of gap junctions between intermediate cells and pericytes and/or endothelial cells suggests that endothelial cells and pericytes may play roles other than forming a structural route for blood circulation.

PMID:
11335080
DOI:
10.1016/s0378-5955(01)00252-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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