Culture conditions determine the prevalence of bipolar and monopolar neurons in cultures of dissociated spiral ganglion

Donna S Whitlon*, M. Grover, J. Tristano, T. Williams, M. T. Coulson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


To gain insight into the mechanisms that control the generation or maintenance of the characteristic bipolar morphology of cochlear spiral ganglion neurons, we have taken advantage of our recently developed procedure for culture of dissociated newborn mouse spiral ganglion. In these cultures, inclusion of the cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in the medium increases neuronal survival and the number of bipolar neurons. Here we tested effects of two other LIF-type cytokines (ciliary neurotrophic factor, CNTF; and human recombinant oncostatin M, hOSM) and of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) on survival, morphology and neurite lengths of neurons in cultures of dissociated spiral ganglion. Like LIF, CNTF and hOSM increased neuronal survival and the number of surviving bipolar neurons. BMP4 also increased neuronal survival, but unlike LIF, CNTF and hOSM, increased the number of monopolar neurons and neurons with no neurites. In addition, population histograms demonstrate that the population lengths of the longer and shorter neurites of bipolar neurons were shorter in BMP4 containing cultures than in control or LIF cultures. When LIF and BMP4 were simultaneously added to the cultures, the BMP4 effects predominated. These experiments demonstrate that exposure to different environmental conditions can result in different morphologies in the surviving population of spiral ganglion neurons in culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-840
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 11 2007



  • BMP4
  • cochlea
  • cytokine
  • neurite outgrowth
  • neuron
  • regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this