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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Developmental regulation of neuron-specific P2X3 receptor expression in the rat cochlea.

ATP-gated ion channels assembled from P2X3 receptor (P2X3R) subunits contribute to neurotransmission and neurotrophic signaling, associated with neurite development and synaptogenesis, particularly in peripheral sensory neurons. Here, P2X3R expression was characterized in the rat cochlea from embryonic day 16 ( E16) to adult (P49-56), using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. P2X3R mRNA was strongly expressed in the cochlea prior to birth, declined to a minimal level at P14, and was absent in adult tissue. P2X3R protein expression was confined to spiral ganglion neurons (SGN) within Rosenthal's canal of the cochlea. At E16, immunolabeling was detected in the SGN neurites, but not the distal neurite projection within the developing sensory epithelium (greater epithelial ridge). From E18, the immunolabeling was observed in the peripheral neurites innervating the inner hair cells but was reduced by P6. However, from P2-8, immunolabeling of the SGN neurites extended to include the outer spiral bundle fiber tract beneath the outer hair cells. This labeling of type II SGN afferent fiber declined after P8. By P14, all synaptic terminal immunolabeling in the organ of Corti was absent, and SGN cell body labeling was minimal. In adult cochlear tissue, P2X3R immunolabeling was not detected. Noise exposure did not induce P2X3R expression in the adult cochlea. These data indicate that ATP-gated ion channels incorporating P2X3R subunit expression are specifically targeted to the afferent terminals just prior to the onset of hearing, and likely contribute to the neurotrophic signaling which establishes functional auditory neurotransmission.[1]


  1. Developmental regulation of neuron-specific P2X3 receptor expression in the rat cochlea. Huang, L.C., Greenwood, D., Thorne, P.R., Housley, G.D. J. Comp. Neurol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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