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Title: Morphological aspects of potassium flow in the semicircular canal ampulla of the pigeon
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Murcia : F. Hernández
ISSN: 0213-3911
Related subjects: CDU::6 - Ciencias aplicadas::61 - Medicina
Keywords: Ultrastructure
Basal labyrinth
Abstract: Potassium ions are a prerequisite for the development and regulation of sensory cell stimulation in the inner ear. From the potassium-rich endolymph the ions flow into the sensory cells apically and are released basolaterally. After transport pathways of various lengths potassium is released again into the endolymph - in the cochlea by marginal cells of the stria vascularis, in the vestibular labyrinth by dark cells. While this long recycling pathway is relatively well-known in the cochlea, few studies have been conducted on the semicircular canal ampullae (SCCA) where its morphological basis is largely unknown. According to the present electron microscopic findings, potassium ions are initially released into the extracellular space during stimulation of the sensory cells and then absorbed by supporting and light cells. Finally they are transported transcellularly over numerous very long gap junctions into the region of the dark cells. From here they move to an extracellular compartment, which is more or less completely sealed off basally by basal plates of the light cells. Apically the intercellular space between light and dark cells is sealed by junctional complexes. This newly identified space in the SCCA corresponds to the extracellular compartment between the marginal and intermediate cells in the stria vascularis. At both sites, the cochlea and the SCCA, this probably serves as a regulatory valve, reservoir or storage space, particularly for potassium ions. It is likely that the different morphology of the ion transport pathways is related to the different flow levels of potassium ions expressed by the different levels of the so-called endocochlear potential and concomitant movement of other ions in the cochlea and SCCA.
Primary author: Helling, K.
Merker, H. J.
Published in: Histology and histopathology
Document type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Number of pages / Extensions: 12
Rights: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Appears in Collections:Vol.20, nº 2 (2005)

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