Early efferent innervation of the developing rat cochlea studied with a carbocyanine dye

K.S. Cole, Donald Robertson

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    The olivocochlear pathway in the developing rat was visualized in fixed material. The fluorescent carbocyanine dye 1,1'-Dioctadecyl-3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) was applied to the cut central axons of the olivocochlear neurones at the floor of the fourth ventricle, and the termination pattern within the cochlea was examined after dye diffusion. From the day of birth (PO) to postnatal day 2 (P2), efferent innervation of the cochlea was exclusively in the region of the inner hair cells. Between P2 and P11, progressive outgrowth of neuronal processes to the outer hair cell region occurred; possible connections with the outer hair cells were occasionally seen at P4 and approached the mature pattern by P6. The efferent innervation of the organ of Corti appeared to mature progressively from the cochlear base to the apex, with outgrowth to the outer hair cells occurring earlier in the basal turn of the cochlea than in the second and third cochlear turns. Numerous blind axonal endings were observed in the spiral lamina especially at early postnatal ages. These findings may be consistent with a sequential pattern of arrival of efferent axons at the organ of Corti and ongoing death of efferent neurones in the brainstem during this period of development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-230
    JournalBrain Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1992


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