Ontogeny of glutamate decarboxylase and γ-aminobutyric acid immunoreactivities in the rat cochlea
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- Merchan-Perez, A., Gil-Loyzaga, P. & Eybalin, M. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (1990) 248: 4. doi:10.1007/BF00634770
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γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic efferent nerve fibers were studied during the postnatal development of the rat cochlea, using light microscopic immunocytochemical techniques. Antibodies against GABA and its synthesizing enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), were used. Immunoreactivity to GAD is already present at birth (postnatal day 1) and could be found below the inner hair cells of the basal turn. Immunoreactivity progressively extends toward the apical turn until day 3. GAD-like immunoreactivity appears under the outer hair cells on postnatal day 15 and is only found in the upper part of the second turn and in the apical turn. The distribution of GABA-like immunoreactivity closely corresponds to that observed with the anti-glutamate decarboxylase antibody. However, the GABA-like immunoreactivity appears about 1–2 days after GAD-like immunoreactivity. At the beginning of the 3rd postnatal week, an adult pattern of GABA- and GAD-like immunoreactivity is established. These results suggest that GABA, which appears under the inner hair cells largely before the onset of hearing, may play a neurotrophic function during cochlear maturation and participate in the regulation of the first cochlear potentials as soon as they appear.