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Publication Detail
Postnatal development of membrane specialisations of gerbil outer hair cells.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Souter M, Nevill G, Forge A
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    43, 62
  • Journal:
    Hear Res
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • Print ISSN:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Aging, Animals, Cell Membrane, Cell Movement, Cochlea, Female, Freeze Fracturing, Gerbillinae, Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer, Intercellular Junctions, Membrane Proteins, Organ of Corti, Pregnancy
Using a combination of freeze-fracture and thin sections, this study examines the maturation of the membrane specialisations of the gerbil outer hair cells (OHC) between 2 and 16 days after birth (DAB). The apical membrane, the junctional region around the neck of the cell, and the lateral and basal membranes are described. The results suggest a sequential development of the different components of the lateral wall. Intramembrane protein particles (IMP), the putative OHC motor elements, were found to be present at low density at 2 DAB and increased in density from 2200 IMP/microns 2 at 2 DAB to 4131/ microns 2 at 8 DAB. OHCs have been reported as showing electromotility from 8 DAB onward. IMPs continue to increase in density until mature values are attained at 16 DAB. Sub-surface cisternae did not appear until 8 DAB, with a single layer being complete by 10 DAB. Pillar structures, proposed to be related to the cytoskeletal lattice, first appear at 10 DAB. The apical membrane of the immature hair cell is characterised by the presence of pits related to the endocytosis of vesicles, and tip-links between stereocilia, thought to be associated with sites of ion channel opening, are present at 2 DAB. The junctional region comprises two areas which mature at differing rates: an apical-most region which attains an adult-like appearance by 8 DAB and a basal-ward region which continues to increase in complexity until mature at 16 DAB. The functional significance of the results are discussed in relation to the possible roles of the junctional regions and the proposed sites of the OHC motor elements.
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