Spiral ganglion cell density in young and old gerbils

Hear Res. 1989 Mar;38(1-2):125-33. doi: 10.1016/0378-5955(89)90134-2.


The Mongolian gerbil, like other mammalian species, has a decreased number of spiral ganglion cells as a function of age. This loss of cells was first seen in 24- to 30-month old animals in the basal end of the ganglion. In the oldest individuals the apical end of the ganglion was also affected. There were approximately 15-25% fewer cells in the affected areas in the 36- to 42-month old animals. In the oldest animals degeneration of the stria vascularis was seen in the apical turn and some degenerative changes in the organ of Corti were seen throughout the length of the cochlear duct. The aging pattern in the gerbil cochlea, is similar to that described for other species. Vacuoles, previously described in the gerbil cochlear nucleus, were also seen in the auditory nerve within the modiolus, but central to the Schwann-glial border in all animals. Vacuoles were not present within the spiral ganglion or the peripheral processes of the ganglion cells. Because the ganglion cell axons should be similar on either side of the Schwann-glial border, but the vacuoles were confined to the central nervous system, it is concluded that the degenerative process affects glial cells as opposed to neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cochlea / cytology*
  • Gerbillinae
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Organ of Corti / cytology
  • Schwann Cells / cytology
  • Spiral Ganglion / cytology*
  • Stria Vascularis / cytology
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / cytology