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Histochem Cell Biol. 2012 Sep;138(3):477-88. doi: 10.1007/s00418-012-0969-5. Epub 2012 May 19.

Evidence for a partial epithelial-mesenchymal transition in postnatal stages of rat auditory organ morphogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, GIGA-Neurosciences, Unit of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of Liege, Avenue de l'hôpital 1, 4000 Liege, Belgium.


The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a crucial role in the differentiation of many tissues and organs. So far, an EMT was not detected in the development of the auditory organ. To determine whether an EMT may play a role in the morphogenesis of the auditory organ, we studied the spatial localization of several EMT markers, the cell-cell adhesion molecules and intermediate filament cytoskeletal proteins, in epithelium of the dorsal cochlea during development of the rat Corti organ from E18 (18th embryonic day) until P25 (25th postnatal day). We examined by confocal microscopy immunolabelings on cryosections of whole cochleae with antibodies anti-cytokeratins as well as with antibodies anti-vimentin, anti-E-cadherin and anti-β-catenin. Our results showed a partial loss of E-cadherin and β-catenin and a temporary appearance of vimentin in pillar cells and Deiters between P8 and P10. These observations suggest that a partial EMT might be involved in the remodelling of the Corti organ during the postnatal stages of development in rat.

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