Effects of surgical lesions on choline acetyltransferase activity in the cat cochlea

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Abstract

Although it is well established that the choline acetyltransferase (ChAT, the enzyme for acetylcholine synthesis) in the mammalian cochlea is associated with its olivocochlear innervation, the distribution of this innervation in the cochlea varies somewhat among mammalian species. The quantitative distribution of ChAT activity in the cochlea has been reported for guinea pigs and rats. The present study reports the distribution of ChAT activity within the organ of Corti among the three turns of the cat cochlea and the effects of removing olivocochlear innervation either by a lateral cut aimed to totally transect the left olivocochlear bundle or a more medial cut additionally damaging the superior olivary complex on the same side. Similarly to results for guinea pig and rat, the distribution of ChAT activity in the cat outer hair cell region showed a decrease from base to apex, but, unlike in the guinea pig and rat, the cat inner hair cell region did not. As in the rat, little ChAT activity was measured in the outer supporting cell region. As previously reported for whole cat cochlea and for rat cochlear regions, transection of the olivocochlear bundle resulted in almost total loss of ChAT activity in the hair cell regions of the cat cochlea. Lesions of the superior olivary complex resulted in loss of ChAT activity in the inner hair cell region of all cochlear turns only on the lesion side but bilateral losses in the outer hair cell region of all turns. The results are consistent with previous evidence that virtually all cholinergic synapses in the mammalian cochlea are associated with its olivocochlear innervation, that the olivocochlear innervation to the inner hair cell region is predominantly ipsilateral, and that the olivocochlear innervation to the outer hair cells is bilateral.

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