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Cell Tissue Res. 1996 Mar;283(3):339-53.

Expression of neurotrophin receptor trkB in rat cochlear hair cells at time of rearrangement of innervation.

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Tübingen Center for Hearing Research, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Tübingen, Röntgenweg 11, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The spatio-temporal distribution of the high-affinity neurotrophin receptor trkB was monitored during postnatal development of the rat cochlea. In addition to expression in presumptive afferent type I collaterals, afferent type II fibers, and efferent fibers, trkB immunoreactivity also transiently appeared in the sensory hair cells themselves, from postnatal days 5-9 in the basal turn, and from postnatal days 9-13 in the apical turn. A comparison of trkB with p75(NGFR), which is expressed in afferent and efferent fibers, and GAP-43 and synaptophysin, which are expressed in efferent fibers, revealed a time/space correlation of trkB receptor expression in hair cells with the rearrangement of their innervation. Co-expression of the neurotrophin receptor and its ligand has been proposed to be functionally involved in regulating the survival of neurons independent of target-derived neurotrophin factor. Thus, the presence of trkB in target hair cells, suggests that auto/paracrine mechanisms play a role during this critical period of rearrangement of neural connections.

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