, Volume 200, Issue 1, pp 19-26

Apoptosis during inner ear development in human and mouse embryos: an analysis by computer-assisted three-dimensional reconstruction

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 Apoptosis in the developing inner ear tissue of human (Carnegie stage 14 to 21, approximately 5 to 8 weeks of gestation) and mouse (10.5 to 14 days of gestation) embryos was systematically analyzed by a computer-assisted three-dimensional reconstruction of the serial histological sections and by the TUNEL method. Morphogenetic events such as folding between the utricular portion and endolymphatic duct, constriction of the junction of the saccule with the cochlea and folding of the vestibular portion to form the semicircular ducts were accompanied by a localized distribution of apoptosis. The apoptosis was also related to the innervation of the cochlear and vestibular epithelia from the sensory ganglion of the eighth cranial nerve and the differentiation of the otic epithelia into the sensory epithelia. These results suggest that apoptosis plays an important role in the development of the inner ear.

Accepted: 2 December 1998