Hair cell innervation by spiral ganglion neurons in the mouse

A. M. Berglund, D. K. Ryugo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected extracellularly into the auditory nerve of adult mice so that the enzyme could infuse individual spiral ganglion neurons. Forty‐two well‐stained neurons were reconstructed through serial sections from their cell bodies to peripheral terminations in the organ of Corti with the aid of a light microscope and drawing tube. No neuron was observed to innervate both inner and outer hair cells (IHCs and OHCs). Previous observations from neonatal mammals that reported that IHCs and OHCs were innervated by the same neuron are thus presumed to describe a transient developmental phenomenon. Two populations of spiral ganglion neurons were determined on the basis of the differences in receptor innervation. The type I neurons innervated exclusively IHCs by way of thick (1–2 μm) radial fibers, whereas the type II neurons innervated only OHCs by way of thin (∼0.5 μm) outer spiral fibers. Certain features of the peripheral process in the vicinity of the cell body were highly correlated with fiber type. This pattern of separate innervation of IHCs and OHCs by type I and type II neurons, respectively, may represent the general plan of afferent organization for the adult mammalian cochlea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-570
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 22 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • auditory system
  • hearing
  • primary afferents
  • receptors
  • type I spiral ganglion cells
  • type II spiral ganglion cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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