Distinct and gradient distributions of connexin26 and connexin30 in the cochlear sensory epithelium of guinea pigs

Hong Bo Zhao, Ning Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

Connexin26 (Cx26) and Cx30 are predominant isoforms of gap junction channels in the cochlea and play a critical role in hearing. In this study, the cellular distributions of Cx26 and Cx30 in the cochlear sensory epithelium of guinea pigs were examined by immunofluorescent staining and confocal microscopy in whole mounts of the cochlear sensory epithelium and dissociated cell preparations. The expression of Cx26 and Cx30 demonstrated a longitudinal gradient distribution in the epithelium and was reduced threefold from the cochlear apex to base. The reduction was more pronounced in the Deiters cells and pillar cells than in the Hensen cells. Cx26 was expressed in all types of supporting cells, but little Cx30 labeling was seen in the Hensen cells. Cx26 expression in the Hensen cells was concentrated mainly in the second and third rows, forming a distinct band along the sensory epithelium at its outer region. In the dissociated Deiters cells and pillar cells, Cx30 showed dense labeling at the cell bodies and processes in the reticular lamina. Cx26 labeling largely overlapped that of Cx30 in these regions. Cx26 and Cx30 were also coexpressed in the gap junctional plaques between Claudius cells. Neither Cx26 nor Cx30 labeling was seen in the hair cells and spiral ganglion neurons. These observations demonstrate that Cx26 and Cx30 have a longitudinal gradient distribution and distinct cellular expression in the auditory sensory epithelium. This further supports our previous reports that Cx26 and Cx30 can solely and concertedly perform different functions in the cochlea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-518
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume499
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 20 2006

Keywords

  • Cochlear supporting cells
  • Gap junction
  • Inner ear
  • Nonsyndromic hearing loss
  • Reticular lamina
  • Spiral ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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