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  • Photo of Anne LuebkeAnne E. Luebke, Ph.D.

    Role of cochlear outer hair cells in hearing and hearing loss, at both the molecular and systems levels

Quantifying Afferent Strength

Inner hair cell afferent synapses

Inner hair cell afferent synapses can be damaged by temporary noise exposures without loss of hair cells. Each type-1 afferent contacts an inner hair cell (IHC) via a terminal apposed to a synaptic ribbon (schmatic shown in B). Terminals can be stained with anti-neurofilament (green) and ribbons with anti-CtBP2 (red) thus allowing counts of afferent synapses. In control ears, there are ˜17.5 ribbons per inner hair cell (IHC), however, after a noise damage resulting in temporary loss of auditory thresholds (TTS), there is dramatic loss of ribbons and terminals by 3 days post-exposure. There is no loss of IHCs or OHCs (as nuclei are stained with a chromatin dye, DAPI).