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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1995 Oct 27;89(1):73-86.

Synaptophysin and GAP-43 proteins in efferent fibers of the inner ear during postnatal development.

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ENT-Department, University of Tübingen, Germany.


A rearrangement of afferent and efferent fibers occurs in the postnatal development of the inner ear. Growth and synaptogenesis was explored during this critical period by immunohistochemically monitoring the expression of GAP-43 and synaptophysin. Both proteins were colocalized in efferent fibers beyond postnatal day 3 (pn3). Two distinct synaptophysin- and GAP-43-positive fibers innervated different parts of inner hair cells in the first and second postnatal weeks, respectively. GAP-43-positive efferents projecting to outer hair cells upregulated synaptophysin with base to apex gradient between postnatal day 5 and postnatal day 14. In efferents projecting to outer hair cells GAP-43 was downregulated about 6 days beyond synaptogenesis. In efferents projecting to inner hair cells, however, GAP-43 remained upregulated even beyond pn18, indicating continuous synapse replacement of this fiber type. Both proteins thus improved as excellent markers for growth and synaptogenesis of distinct postnatal efferent fibers.

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