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Epithelial cells of the inner ear coordinate their ion transport activity through a number of mechanisms. One important mechanism is the autocrine and paracrine signaling among neighboring cells in the ear via nucleotides, such as adenosine, ATP and UTP. This review summarizes observations on the release, detection and degradation of nucleotides by epithelial cells of the inner ear. Purinergic signaling is thought to be important for endolymph ion homeostasis and for protection from acoustic over-stimulation.