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Hear Res. 1988 Aug;34(3):253-66.

Comparative anatomy of the cochlea and auditory nerve in mammals.

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Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114.


The numbers and structure of hair cells; afferent, efferent, and reciprocal synapses as seen at the base of hair cells; innervation patterns of first order cochlear neurons; and number and morphology of spiral ganglion cells will be discussed and compared in the guinea pig, rat, cat, monkey and man. Despite many similarities both in the organ of Corti and the spiral ganglion in these species, there are a number of differences which may have important physiologic implications. In the organ of Corti, the major differences among species are the length and width of the basilar membrane, the number of inner and outer hair cells, and the length of hairs on both inner and outer hair cells. Significant differences in the innervation pattern of the inner hair cell among these species include the number of afferent nerve terminals per inner hair cell, the degree of branching of afferent fibers, and the number of synapses per afferent nerve terminal. Among outer hair cells, the number of afferent nerve terminals per outer hair cell, presence or absence of a pre-synaptic body, presence or absence of reciprocal synapses, the number of efferent terminals per outer hair cell, and the presence of dendodendritic synapses in outer spiral bundles may be differences important physiologically. In the spiral ganglion, there are significant differences in the number of spiral ganglion cells, the number of cochlear nerve fibers, the percentage of spiral ganglion cells which are myelinated, and the presence of synapses on spiral ganglion cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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