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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1991;183(5):483-9.

ChAT-like immunoreactivity of olivocochlear fibres on rat outer hair cells during the postnatal development.

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Zoologisches Institut der J.W. Goethe Universit├Ąt, Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany.


Several studies present a great deal of information about putative efferent neurotransmitters and their distribution in the adult and developing cochlea. Anatomical mapping of outer hair cell efferent fibres during ontogeny is still not available. Using quantitative electron microscopy in combination with immunocytochemistry, the distribution of ChAT-like immunoreactivity in the developing rat was investigated. Adult-like immunoreactivity in the whole cochlea is first observed in 30-day-old rats. We localized the adult-like immunoreactivity in all efferent fibres and synapses of the outer hair cells along the entire cochlear duct. An adult-like reaction in the whole cochlea could be observed on the 25th day after birth in two out of three cases. On the 20th postnatal day, no adult-like ChAT immunoreactivity was found, with the exception of one case where labelling was seen in the basal region only. The adult-like ChAT immunoreactivity on the 30th day, 2-3 weeks after the onset of hearing, is the latest maturation of all features of the organ of Corti so far investigated. Synaptogenesis of the outer hair cell efferents reaches an adult-like appearance already on the 16th day after birth.

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