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Hear Res. 1993 Mar;66(1):8-22.

The innervation of the organ of Corti in the rat.

Author information

1
Zoological Institute, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, FRG.

Abstract

To date our knowledge of the baso-apical distribution of the afferent and efferent nerve fibers innervating the organ of Corti is only fragmentary. This study makes an effort to lay the basis for a comprehensive analysis of cochlear innervation. Using a quantitative electronmicroscopic method, the fiber density of all cochlear fibers along the entire length of the cochlear duct was investigated in adult rats, Rattus norvegicus. Myelinated and unmyelinated nerve fibers in the primary osseous spiral lamina and afferent and efferent nerve fibers to the outer hair cells (OHCs) in the tunnel of Corti were counted. The rat cochlea is innervated by 19000 nerve fibers which consist of 79% afferent and 21% efferent fibers. The inner hair cells (IHCs) are innervated by 14000 afferent and 2000 efferent fibers. The OHCs are innervated by 1000 afferent and 2000 efferent fibers. The maximum fiber density of IHC afferents, OHC afferents and IHC efferents was found in the middle of the cochlea. This corresponds to the region at the basilar membrane where the frequency range of maximum sensitivity is located [8 kHz-31 kHz; Kelly and Masterton, J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 91, 930-936 (1977)]. The efferent nerve fibers to the OHCs consists of two different morphological sub-types: large fibers containing mitochondria and neurotubules (type I) and small fibers containing neurofilaments (type II). The fiber density of type I OHC efferents decreases from base to apex corresponding to the frequency dispersion along the basilar membrane. The fiber density of type II OHC efferents has maxima at the base and at the apex and a minimum in the middle of the cochlea. This minimum corresponds to the region at the basilar membrane where the frequency range of maximum sensitivity is located.

PMID:
8473248
DOI:
10.1016/0378-5955(93)90255-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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