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Hear Res. 1997 Jun;108(1-2):74-82.

Morphologic evidence for innervation of Deiters' and Hensen's cells in the guinea pig.

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Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


The presence of nerve fibers and terminals among Deiters' and Hensen's cells of the organ of Corti of the adult guinea pig is demonstrated using immunostaining for synaptophysin and neurofilaments, acetylcholinesterase histochemistry, and transmission electron microscopy. These nerve terminals appeared to form chemical synapses with Deiters' and Hensen's cells. Nerve fibers and synapses were more common in the apical as compared to the basal cochlea. The terminals were often present on basal appendages of Hensen's cells, which were rich in mitochondria and often contained a Golgi apparatus and dense core vesicles. Electron microscopy and immunostaining for neurofilaments showed that most Hensen's cells in the apical cochlea received innervation. Few of the nerve fibers and terminals were positive for acetylcholinesterase, which suggests that they were not collaterals of cholinergic olivocochlear fibers. The density of these fibers, as shown by immunohistochemistry for neurofilaments, was far greater than previous reports of GABA-ergic fibers, which suggests that they were not GABA-ergic olivocochlear fibers. The role of such fibers and synapses with supporting cells of the outer hair cell area is unknown. Determination of the origins and functions of these fibers will provide new insights into cochlear structure and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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