The spiral ganglion: connecting the peripheral and central auditory systems

Hear Res. 2011 Aug;278(1-2):2-20. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2011.04.003. Epub 2011 Apr 21.


In mammals, the initial bridge between the physical world of sound and perception of that sound is established by neurons of the spiral ganglion. The cell bodies of these neurons give rise to peripheral processes that contact acoustic receptors in the organ of Corti, and the central processes collect together to form the auditory nerve that projects into the brain. In order to better understand hearing at this initial stage, we need to know the following about spiral ganglion neurons: (1) their cell biology including cytoplasmic, cytoskeletal, and membrane properties, (2) their peripheral and central connections including synaptic structure; (3) the nature of their neural signaling; and (4) their capacity for plasticity and rehabilitation. In this report, we will update the progress on these topics and indicate important issues still awaiting resolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Spiral Ganglion / cytology
  • Spiral Ganglion / innervation
  • Spiral Ganglion / physiology*


  • Nerve Growth Factors