Distribution of glycoconjugates in ion transport cells of gerbil inner ear

S. Sugiyama, S. S. Spicer, P. D. Munyer, B. A. Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ion transport cells in gerbil inner ear were differentiated histochemically by staining glycoconjugates (GCs) with a battery of horseradish peroxidase-conjugated lectins. Strong staining with PSA and LCA showed a high content of N-linked oligosaccharides in transport cell GCs. Reactivity with PHA-L and PHA-E identified GC with triantennary and with bisected biantennary N-linked oligosaccharides, respectively, in these cells. High affinity for DSA and PWM demonstrated abundant N-acetyl lactosamine in N-linked side chains. Ion transporting epithelial cells reacting with lectins specific for N-linked oligosaccharides included strial marginal cells and outer sulcus cells of the cochlea and dark cells, transitional cells, and planum semilunatum cells of the vestibular system. In general, all of the inner ear transport epithelial cells revealed a similar lectin binding profile, with the one exception that SBA reacted strongly with ion transporting cells in the vestibular system but only weakly with those in the cochlea. Fibrocytes specialized for ion transport located in distinct areas in the suprastrial and inferior regions of the spiral ligament also stained with lectins that demonstrate N-glycosylation. However, transport fibrocytes differed from transport epithelial cells in two ways. First, they reacted with HPA, DBA, VVA, and SJA specific for O-linkages and second, they failed to react with UEA I. The staining pattern for N-glycosylated GC resembled that for Na+,K+-ATPase in inner ear, suggesting a relationship between these constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlea
  • Gerbil
  • Ion transport
  • Lectin histochemistry
  • Vestibular system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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