, Volume 137, Issue 5, pp 599-613
Date: 04 Feb 2012

Expression and distribution of creatine transporter and creatine kinase (brain isoform) in developing and mature rat cochlear tissues

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Physiological processes in the cochlea associated with sound transduction and maintenance of the unique electrochemical environment are metabolically demanding. Creatine maintains ATP homeostasis by providing high-energy phosphates for ATP regeneration which is catalyzed by creatine kinase (CK). Cellular uptake of creatine requires a specific high affinity sodium- and chloride-dependent creatine transporter (CRT). This study postulates that this CRT is developmentally regulated in the rat cochlea. CRT expression was measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry in the postnatal (P0–P14) and adult (P22–P56) rat cochlea. The maximum CRT expression was reached at the onset of hearing (P12), and this level was maintained through to adulthood. CRT immunoreactivity was strongest in the sensory inner hair cells, supporting cells and the spiral ganglion neurons. Cochlear distribution of the CK brain isoform (CKB) was also assessed by immunohistochemistry and compared with the distribution of CRT in the developing and adult cochlea. CKB was immunolocalized in the organ of Corti supporting cells, and the lateral wall tissues involved in K+ cycling, including stria vascularis and spiral ligament fibrocytes. Similar to CRT, CKB reached peak expression after the onset of hearing. Differential spatial and temporal expression of CRT and CK in cochlear tissues during development may reflect differential requirements for creatine–phosphocreatine buffering to replenish ATP consumed during energy-dependent metabolic processes, especially around the period when the cochlea becomes responsive to airborne sound.