Hair cell regeneration in the chick inner ear following acoustic trauma: ultrastructural and immunohistochemical studies
ABSTRACT The regeneration of hair cells in the chick inner ear following acoustic trauma was examined using transmission electron microscopy. In addition, the localization of proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF) was demonstrated immunohistochemically. The auditory sensory epithelium of the normal chick consists of short and tall hair cells and supporting cells. Immediately after noise exposure to a 1500-Hz pure tone at a sound pressure level of 120 decibels for 48 h, all the short hair cells disappeared in the middle region of the auditory epithelium. Twelve hours to 1 day after exposure, mitotic cells, binucleate cells and PCNA-positive supporting cells were observed, and b-FGF immunoreactivity was shown in the supporting cells and glial cells near the habenula perforata. Spindle-shaped hair cells with immature stereocilia and a kinocilium appeared 3 days after exposure; these cells had synaptic connections with the newly developed nerve endings. The spindle-shaped hair cell is considered to be a transitional cell in the lineage of the supporting cell to the mature short hair cell. These results indicate that, after acoustic trauma, the supporting cells divide and differentiate into new short hair cells via spindle-shaped hair cells. Furthermore, it is suggested that b-FGF is related to the proliferation of the supporting cells and the extension of the nerve fibers.