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Cell Tissue Res 1984;237(1):43-8

Morphology and cross-linkage of stereocilia in the guinea-pig labyrinth examined without the use of osmium as a fixative.

Osborne MP, Comis SD, Pickles JO

Hair cells of the guinea-pig cochlea and vestibular system were prepared for electron-microscopic examination by fixing in glutaraldehyde without the use of osmium. An extensive array of cross-links was seen between the apical ends of the stereocilia, by both scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Some cross-links ran laterally between stereocilia of the same row. Others ran laterally between the stereocilia of the different rows, holding the tips of the shorter stereocilia in towards the longer stereocilia of the next row. In addition, each tip on the shorter stereocilia gave rise to a single, upwards pointing link, which ran upwards to join the adjacent taller stereocilium of the next row. We suggest that distortion of this link might be involved in the mechanics or even the membrane biophysics of sensory transduction. With this method of preservation, all the apical surface membranes of the hair cells appeared rough, and contained dense granules. The roughness was greatest in the parts of the stereocilia to which the cross-links were attached. The mitochondrial and synaptic membranes of the hair cells appeared normal.

PMID: 6332677, UI: 85001976

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