Author(s): Sato M, Leake PA, Hradek GT
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Abstract This study quantitatively characterizes the development of the major morphological features of the organ of Corti during the first 2 weeks postnatal, the period when the cat auditory system makes the transition from being essentially non-functional to having nearly adult-like responses. Four groups of kittens (n = 3) were studied at one day postnatal (P1), P5, P10, P15, and compared to adults. Measurements were made of the organ of Corti at 3 cochlear locations: 20\%, 60\% and 85\% of basilar membrane length from the base cochlear locations which in the adult correspond to best frequencies of approximately 20 kHz, 2 kHz and 500 Hz, respectively. In addition, measurements of basilar membrane length and opening of the tunnel of Corti were made in 20 cochlear specimens from kittens aged P0-P6. Results indicate that: (i) at P0 the basilar membrane has attained adult length, and the tunnel of Corti is open over approximately the basal one-half of the cochlea; (ii) the initial opening of the tunnel of Corti occurs at a site about 4 mm from the cochlear base (best frequency of approximately 25 kHz in the adult cochlea); (iii) the thickness of the tympanic cell layer decreases markedly at the basal 20-kHz location; (iv) the areas of the tunnel of Corti and space of Nuel and the angulation of the inner hair cells (IHC) relative to the basilar membrane all show marked postnatal increases at both the middle and apical locations; (v) IHC are nearly adult-like in length and shape at birth, whereas the OHC (at 2-kHz and 500-Hz locations) undergo marked postnatal changes; (vi) disappearance of the marginal pillars and maturation of the supporting cells are not yet complete by P15.
This article was published in Hear Res
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research