Expression of α and β Parvalbumin Is Differentially Regulated in the Rat Organ of Corti during Development

D. Yang, I. Thalmann, R. Thalmann, D. D. Simmons

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26 Scopus citations


The expression of two calcium-binding proteins of the parvalbumin (PV) family, the α isoform (αPV) and the β isoform known as oncomodulin (OM), was investigated in the rat cochlea during postnatal development and related to cholinergic efferent innervation. Using RT-PCR analysis, we found that OM expression begins between postnatal day 2 (P2) and P4, and peaks as early as P10, while αPV mRNA begins expression before birth and remains highly expressed into the adult period. Both in situ hybridization and immunoreactivity confirm that OM is uniquely expressed by the outer hair cells (OHCs) in the rat cochlea and occurs after efferent innervation along the cochlear spiral between P2 and P4. In contrast to OM expression, αPV immunoreactivity is expressed in both inner hair cells (IHCs) and OHCs at birth. Following olivocochlear efferent innervation, OHCs demonstrate weak OM immunoreactivity beginning at P5 and diminished αPV immunoreactivity after P10. In organ cultures isolated prior to the efferent innervation of OHCs, OM immunoreactivity failed to develop in OHCs, but αPV immunoreactivity remained present in both IHCs and OHCs. In contrast, organ cultures isolated after efferent innervation of OHCs show OHCs with low levels of OM immunoreactivity and high levels of αPV immunoreactivity. This study suggests that OM and aPV are differentially regulated in OHCs during cochlear development. Our findings further raise the possibility that the expression of PV proteins in OHCs may be influenced by efferent innervation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-492
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Auditory periphery
  • Calcium-binding proteins
  • Efferent innervation
  • Hair cell
  • Oncomodulin


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