Gentamicin ototoxicity in the saccule of the lizardPodarcis Siculainduces hair cell recovery and regeneration

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There is little information available on the susceptibility of reptilian saccule hair cells to ototoxin-induced sensory damage. In this study, we report morphological evidence of hair cell recovery and regeneration after damage induced by gentamicin in the saccule of a lizard. We perform morphological analysis using scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy with actin and calbindin as markers for hair cells and tubulin as a marker for supporting cells. The data were consistent: gentamicin induced damage in the hair cells, and the damage increased with increasing duration of treatment. Initially, the saccule appeared unhealthy. Subsequently, the sensory hair cells became compromised, with fused stereovilli, followed by widespread loss of hair cell bundles from the hair cells. Finally, numerous hair cells were lost. Morphologically, the saccule appeared normal 28 days after gentamicin treatment. Using a mitogenic marker, we tested whether or not there is hair cell regeneration following administration of gentamicin. We found evidence of bromodeoxyuridine incorporation first in supporting cell nuclei and subsequently in hair cell nuclei. This indicates that a process of sensory epithelium repair and hair cell regeneration occurred, in both extrastriolar and striolar regions, and that the recovery was due to both the proliferation of supporting cells and, as seems likely, self-repair of hair cell bundles.

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