Intercellular communication in the supporting cells of the organ of Corti

Joseph Santos-Sacchi*, Peter Dallos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We have directly tested the concept that the supporting cells of the organ of Corti are functionally coupled through gap junctions. In vitro and in vivo preparations were evaluated. Electrical measurements clearly show that the cells are coupled ionically. Voltage drops measured in neighboring cells in response to intracellular current injections indicate that current spread decays rapidly. Despite the existence of electrical coupling, fluorescent dye injection studies revealed no dye spread into adjacent cells, other than a few instances which were clearly artifactual. However, it is possible that dye spread is very slow and that dye in adjacent cells is diluted below visual detectability. In any case, dye coupling is remarkably poor compared to other electrically coupled tissues. The role of coupling in the supporting cells may be nutritive, considering the avascular nature of Corti's organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalHearing research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983


  • dye coupling
  • electrical coupling
  • organ of Corti

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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