[Water regulation in the cochlea : Do molecular water channels facilitate potassium-dependent sound transduction?].

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:Sound transduction in the cochlea critically depends on the circulation of potassium ions (K(+)) along so-called "K(+) recycling routes" between the endolymph and perilymph. These K(+) currents generate high ionic and osmotic gradients, which potentially impair the excitability of sensory hair cells and threaten cell survival in the entire cochlear duct. Molecular water channels-aquaporins (AQP)-are expressed in all cochlear supporting cells along the K(+) recycling routes; however, their significance for osmotic equilibration in cochlear duct cells is unknown. METHODS:The diffusive and osmotic water permeabilies of Reissner's membrane, the organ of Corti and the entire cochlear duct epithelium were determined. Expression of the potassium channel Kir4.1 and the water channel AQP4 in the cochlear duct was investigated by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS:The calculated water permeability values indicate the extent of AQP-facilitated water flux across the cochlear duct epithelium. Immunohistochemically, Kir4.1 and AQP4 were found to colocalize in distinct membrane domains of supporting cells along the K(+)-recycling routes. CONCLUSION:These observations suggest the presence of a rapid AQP-mediated water exchange between the endolymph, the cells of the cochlear duct and the perilymph. The subcellular colocalization of Kir4.1 and AQP4 in epithelial supporting cells indicates functional coupling of potassium and water flow in the cochlea. Finally, this offers an explanation for the hearing impairment observed in individuals with mutations in the AQP4 gene.

journal_name

HNO

journal_title

HNO

authors

Eckhard A,Löwenheim H

doi

10.1007/s00106-014-2872-y

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2014-06-01 00:00:00

pages

423-31

issue

6

eissn

0017-6192

issn

1433-0458

journal_volume

62

pub_type

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