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Biol Open. 2018 Jul 11. pii: bio.034462. doi: 10.1242/bio.034462. [Epub ahead of print]

Ectopic otoconial formation in the lagena of the pigeon inner ear.

Author information

1
Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna Biocenter (VBC), Campus Vienna Biocenter 1, Vienna 1030, Austria keays@imp.ac.at erich.malkemper@imp.ac.at.
2
University of Cambridge, Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EG, UK.
3
TU Wien, Atominstitut, Stadionallee 2, 1020 Vienna, Austria.
4
Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna Biocenter (VBC), Campus Vienna Biocenter 1, Vienna 1030, Austria.

Abstract

The vertebrate inner ear contains vestibular receptors that contain dense crystals of calcium carbonate, the otoconia. The production and maintenance of otoconia is a delicate process, the perturbation of which can lead to severe vestibular dysfunction in humans. The details of these processes are not well understood. Here, we report the discovery of a new otoconial mass in the lagena of adult pigeons that was present in more than 70% of birds. Based on histological, tomographic and elemental analyses, we conclude that the structure likely represents an ectopically-formed otoconial assembly. Given its frequent natural occurrence, we suggest that the pigeon lagena is a valuable model system for investigating misregulated otoconial formation.

KEYWORDS:

Avian lagena; Dark cells; Inner ear; Magnetoreception; Otolith; Tegmentum vasculosum; Vestibular organs

PMID:
29997242
DOI:
10.1242/bio.034462
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