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J Comp Neurol. 1997 Jun 23;383(1):112-21.

Calretinin expression in the chick brainstem auditory nuclei develops and is maintained independently of cochlear nerve input.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.


The expression of the calcium-binding protein calretinin (CR) in the chick brainstem auditory nuclei angularis (NA), laminaris (NL), and magnocelularis (NM) was studied during normal development and after deafening by surgical removal of the otocyst (embryonic precursor of the inner ear) or columella (middle ear ossicle). CR mRNA was localized by in situ hybridization by using a radiolabeled oligonucleotide chick CR probe. CR immunoreactivity (CR-IR) was localized on adjacent tissue sections. CR mRNA signal in the auditory nuclei was expressed at comparable levels at embryonic day (E)9 and E11 and increased thereafter to reach the highest levels in posthatch chicks. CR-IR neurons were apparent in NM and NA at E11 and in NL by E13, and CR-IR increased in all three auditory nuclei thereafter. Neither unilateral nor bilateral otocyst removal caused detectable changes in the intensity of CR mRNA expression or CR-IR in the auditory nuclei at any of the several ages examined. Similarly, columella removal at posthatching day 2 or 3 failed to significantly affect CR mRNA or CR-IR levels at 3 hours, 1 day, or 3-4 days survival times. We conclude that cochlear nerve input is not necessary for expression of either calretinin mRNA or protein and that the profound decrease in sound-evoked activity caused by columella removal does not affect the maintenance of CR expression after hatching.

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