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Hear Res. 1995 Nov;91(1-2):63-71.

Damage and recovery of hair cells in fish canal (but not superficial) neuromasts after gentamicin exposure.

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Department of Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park 20742-4415, USA.
U MD, College Park


Recent evidence demonstrating the presence of two types of sensory hair cell in the ear of a teleost fish (Astronotus ocellatus, the oscar) indicates that hair cell heterogeneity may exist not only in amniotic vertebrates but also in anamniotes. Here we report that a similar heterogeneity between hair cell types may also occur in the other mechanosensory organ of the oscar, the lateral line. We exposed oscars to the aminoglycoside (ototoxic) antibiotic gentamicin sulfate and found damaged sensory hair cells in one class of the lateral line receptors, the canal neuromasts, but not in the other class, the superficial neuromasts. This effect was not due to the canal environment. Moreover, new ciliary bundles on hair cells of the canal neuromasts were found after, and during, gentamicin exposure. The pattern of hair cell destruction and recovery in canal neuromasts is similar to that of type I-like hair cells found in the striolar region of the utricle and lagena of the oscar after gentamicin treatment. These results suggest that the hair cells in the canal and superficial neuromasts may be similar to type I-like and type II hair cells, respectively, in the fish ear.

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