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

Dopaminergic lateral efferent innervation of the guinea-pig cochlea: immunoelectron microscopy of catecholamine-synthesizing enzymes and effect of 6-hydroxydopamine.

We have used an immunocytochemical approach to gain further data supporting a possible neurotransmitter or neuromodulator function for dopamine at the level of efferent (olivocochlear) innervations of the guinea-pig cochlea. Immunofluorescence screening was first done on cochleas two or seven days after infusion with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine. Two days after neurotoxin perfusion, the intensity of the tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity was decreased in the inner and tunnel spiral bundles of the organ of Corti (and in known noradrenergic sympathetic fibers outside this organ), with respect to the control contralateral cochleas. In cochleas screened seven days after 6-hydroxydopamine infusion, no tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity could be found in the organ of Corti. Only occasional faint fluorescence could be detected in sympathetic fibers. In another set of experiments, a pre-embedding immunoperoxidase technique was used to localize tyrosine hydroxylase and aromatic amino acid decarboxylase, another catecholamine-synthesizing enzyme, at the ultrastructural level. With both types of antibody, the same kind of results were observed. Immunoreactivities were only seen in vesiculated fibers within the inner and tunnel spiral bundles, thus are likely in lateral efferent varicosities. These immunostained fibers accounted for approximately half of the efferent profiles in the inner spiral bundle. Within this bundle, the immunoreactive fibers established axodendritic synapses with the radial afferent processes of type I neurons which contacted the inner hair cells. In no case was immunoreactivity to either enzyme observed in the outer hair cell region, at the level of medial efferent terminals. The synaptic localization of tyrosine hydroxylase- and aromatic amino acid decarboxylase-like immunoreactivities in the lateral efferent varicosities of the inner spiral bundle, as well as the effect of 6-hydroxydopamine on the tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity in this same bundle, further support the hypothesis that a catecholamine could act as a lateral efferent neurotransmitter or neuromodulator. Based on previous data reporting a lack of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity within the organ of Corti, and the effectiveness of a D2 agonist on the cochlear compound action potential of the auditory nerve, this catecholamine could well be dopamine.[1]


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