Section 53
Chapter 52,551

Development of K (+) and Na (+) conductances in rodent postnatal semicircular canal type i hair cells

Li, G.Q.; Meredith, F.L.; Rennie, K.J.

American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 298(2): R351-R358


ISSN/ISBN: 1522-1490
PMID: 19939976
DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00460.2009
Accession: 052550414

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The rodent vestibular system is immature at birth. During the first postnatal week, vestibular type I and type II hair cells start to acquire their characteristic morphology and afferent innervation. We have studied postnatal changes in the membrane properties of type I hair cells acutely isolated from the semicircular canals (SCC) of gerbils and rats using whole cell patch clamp and report for the first time developmental changes in ionic conductances in these cells. At postnatal day (P) 5 immature hair cells expressed a delayed rectifier K(+) conductance (G(DR)) which activated at potentials above approximately -50 mV in both species. Hair cells also expressed a transient Na(+) conductance (G(Na)) with a mean half-inactivation of approximately -90 mV. At P6 in rat and P7 in gerbil, a low-voltage activated K(+) conductance (G(K,L)) was first observed and conferred a low-input resistance, typical of adult type I hair cells, on SCC type I hair cells. G(K,L) expression in hair cells increased markedly during the second postnatal week and was present in all rat type I hair cells by P14. In gerbil hair cells, G(K,L) appeared later and was present in all type I hair cells by P19. During the third postnatal week, G(Na) expression declined and was absent by the fourth postnatal week in rat and the sixth postnatal week in gerbils. Understanding the ionic changes associated with hair cell maturation could help elucidate development and regeneration mechanisms in the inner ear.

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