TRPC3 ion channel subunit immunolocalization in the cochlea

Histochem Cell Biol. 2010 Feb;133(2):137-47. doi: 10.1007/s00418-009-0653-6. Epub 2009 Oct 31.


Canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC) subunits assemble as tetramers to form ion channels with high calcium (Ca(2+)) permeability. Here, we investigated the possibility that TRPC3 ion channels are broadly expressed in the adult guinea pig and mouse cochleae. Using immunofluorescence, pronounced labeling occurred in the spiral ganglion (SG) neurons, inner hair cells (IHC), outer hair cells (OHC) and epithelial cells lining scala media. TRPC3 expression was homogeneous in the SG throughout the cochlea. In contrast, there was marked spatial variation in the immunolabeling in the cochlear hair cells with respect to location. This likely relates to the tonotopy of these cells. TRPC3 immunolabeling was more pronounced in the IHC than OHC. Both basal region IHC and OHC had higher TRPC3 expression levels than the corresponding cells from the apical region of the cochlea. These data suggest that TRPC3 ion channels contribute to Ca(2+) homeostasis associated with the hair cells, with higher ion fluxes in more basal regions of the cochlea, and may also be a significant pathway for Ca(2+) entry associated with auditory neurotransmission via the SG neurons. TRPC3 expression was also identified within the spiral limbus region, inner and outer sulcus, but without evidence for spatial variation in expression level. Expression in these gap junction-coupled epithelial cells lining scala media is indicative of a contribution of TRPC3 channels to cochlear electrochemical homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cochlea / cytology
  • Cochlea / metabolism*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • TRPC Cation Channels / deficiency
  • TRPC Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • TRPC3 cation channel