Opposing expression gradients of calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha (Calca/Cgrpα) and tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) in type II afferent neurons of the mouse cochlea

Jingjing Sherry Wu, Pankhuri Vyas, Elisabeth Glowatzki, Paul Albert Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Type II spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are small caliber, unmyelinated afferents that extend dendritic arbors hundreds of microns along the cochlear spiral, contacting many outer hair cells (OHCs). Despite these many contacts, type II afferents are insensitive to sound and only weakly depolarized by glutamate release from OHCs. Recent studies suggest that type II afferents may be cochlear nociceptors, and can be excited by ATP released during tissue damage, by analogy to somatic pain-sensing C-fibers. The present work compares the expression patterns among cochlear type II afferents of two genes found in C-fibers: calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha (Calca/Cgrpα), specific to pain-sensing C-fibers, and tyrosine hydroxylase (Th), specific to low-threshold mechanoreceptive C-fibers, which was shown previously to be a selective biomarker of type II versus type I cochlear afferents (Vyas et al.,). Whole-mount cochlear preparations from 3-week- to 2-month-old CGRPα-EGFP (GENSAT) mice showed expression of Cgrpα in a subset of SGNs with type II-like peripheral dendrites extending beneath OHCs. Double labeling with other molecular markers confirmed that the labeled SGNs were neither type I SGNs nor olivocochlear efferents. Cgrpα starts to express in type II SGNs before hearing onset, but the expression level declines in the adult. The expression patterns of Cgrpα and Th formed opposing gradients, with Th being preferentially expressed in apical and Cgrpα in basal type II afferent neurons, indicating heterogeneity among type II afferent neurons. The expression of Th and Cgrpα was not mutually exclusive and co-expression could be observed, most abundantly in the middle cochlear turn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-438
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume526
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018

Keywords

  • RRID: AB_566341
  • RRID: MMRRC_011187-UCD
  • calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • hearing
  • spiral ganglion neuron
  • type II auditory nerve fiber
  • tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Opposing expression gradients of calcitonin-related polypeptide alpha (Calca/Cgrpα) and tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) in type II afferent neurons of the mouse cochlea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this