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Publication Detail
Development of gap junctional intercellular communication within the lateral wall of the rat cochlea
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Kelly JJ, Forge A, Jagger DJ
  • Publication date:
    28/04/2011
  • Pagination:
    360, 369
  • Journal:
    Neuroscience
  • Volume:
    180
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    0306-4522
Abstract
Auditory function depends on gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) between fibrocytes within the cochlear spiral ligament, and basal cells and intermediate cells within stria vascularis. This communication within the lateral wall is hypothesized to support recirculation of K+ from perilymph to the intra-strial space, and thus is essential for the high [K+] measured within endolymph, and the generation of the endocochlear potential. In rats, the [K+] within endolymph reaches adult levels by postnatal day 7 (P7), several days before hearing onset, suggesting that GJIC matures before auditory responses are detectable. In this study we have mapped the postnatal development of GJIC within the cochlear lateral wall, to determine the stage at which direct communication first exists between the spiral ligament and stria vascularis. Connexin 30 immunofluorescence revealed a progressive increase of gap junction plaque numbers from P0 onwards, initially in the condensing mesenchyme behind strial marginal cells, and spreading throughout the lateral wall by P7-P8. Whole-cell patch clamp experiments revealed compartmentalized intercellular dye-coupling in the lateral wall between P2 and P5. There was extensive dye-coupling throughout the fibrocyte syncytium by P7. Also, by P7 dye introduced to fibrocytes could also be detected within strial basal cells and intermediate cells. These data suggest that lateral wall function matures several days in advance of hearing onset, and provide anatomical evidence of the existence of a putative K+ recirculation pathway within the cochlear lateral wall. © 2011 IBRO.
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