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J Comp Neurol 1992 Apr 22;318(4):380-91

Ultrastructure of the horseshoe bat's organ of Corti. II. Transmission electron microscopy.

Vater M, Lenoir M, Pujol R

INSERM U 254, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie de l'Audition, Hopital St. Charles, Montpellier, France.

The fine structure of the organ of Corti was investigated in the echolocating horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus rouxi) by transmission electron microscopy. Particular emphasis was placed on the receptor cells and their supporting cells. The receptor cells, inner hair cells (IHC) and outer hair cells (OHC), possess the typical mammalian shape, but OHCs are extremely short (length: 12-15 microns in the basal turn and up to 28-30 microns in the apical turn). The afferent innervation of both types of receptor cells and the efferent innervation of the IHC system conform to the general mammalian scheme; however, confirming earlier reports, an efferent innervation to the OHCs is absent. Throughout the cochlea, IHCs and OHCs possess a single layer of subsurface cisternae. Above the level of the nucleus of the OHCs, the arrangements of the subsurface cisternae and their connection to the lateral cell membrane via pillars are highly regular, whereas in IHCs, the cisternae are of irregular shape and the pillar system is much less distinct. In the basal turn of the cochlea, the attachment sites of the OHCs to the supporting cells possess specialized features: (a) in the reticular lamina, the contact sites of the cuticular plates of OHCs with the outer pillar cells and the Deiters cell phalanges are of exaggerated length, and (b) the cup formation of the Deiters cell body, which houses the bottom of the OHC, has a specialized shape and is packed with electron-dense material and microtubules. The results are discussed in relation to cochlear ultrastructure in other mammals and in the context of active processes in cochlear mechanics.

PMID: 1578009, UI: 92250974

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