Potassium‐Induced Release of Endogenous Amino Acids in the Guinea Pig Cochlea

G. L. Jenison, R. P. Bobbin, R. Thalmann

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Guinea pig cochleae were perfused with highpotassium solutions to depolarize hair cells artificially and induce the release of afferent neurotransmitter. Sequential injections of artificial perilymph containing 5 mM KCl, then 50 mM KCl, and finally 5 mM KCl were made into the scala tympani. This injection sequence was conducted under either normal divalent‐cation conditions (2.0 mM CaCl2, 1.0 mM MgCl2) or calcium‐deficient conditions intended to antagonize evoked transmitter release (0.1 mM CaCl2, 20.0 mM MgCl2). The levels of 21 endogenous primary amines in effluent collected from the scala vestibuli were determined by gradient‐elution, reverse‐phase HPLC using o‐phthaldialdehyde‐thiol adducts with fluorescence detection. Analyses indicated effluent concentrations of glutamate, taurine, and a coeluting taurine‐γ‐aminobutyrate (GABA) fraction (but not GABA alone) increased significantly after exposure to 50 mM KCl and returned to baseline levels after reintroduction of 5 mM KCl under normal divalent‐cation conditions. Correspondent changes in the release of these constituents were significantly attenuated under calcium‐deficient conditions. This was not the case for potassium‐induced changes in the release of arginine, aspartate, and isoleucine. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the receptoneuronal transmitter is glutamate and further suggest a calcium‐dependent mechanism involving taurine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1853
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1985


  • Cochlea
  • Evoked release
  • Glutamate
  • HPLC
  • Hair cell transmitter
  • Taurine


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