Afferent innervation of outer hair cells in adult cats: I. Light microscopic analysis of fibers labeled with horseradish peroxidase

J Comp Neurol. 1988 Apr 1;270(1):132-44. doi: 10.1002/cne.902700111.


Outer spiral fibers (OSFs), the afferent innervation of the outer hair cells (OHCs), were retrogradely labeled following horseradish peroxidase injections into the cat's auditory nerve. The peripheral branching patterns of 85 OSFs from adult cochleas were reconstructed. Fibers contacted OHCs via terminal or en passant swellings; however, the latter were seen exclusively in the apical half of the cochlea. Many OSFs also gave off branches ending on structures other than OHCs. Fibers in the cochlear apex were much more highly branched than in the base. Most fibers contacted only one row of OHCs, and more fibers contacted row 1 than row 2 or row 3 OHCs. Third-row fibers were the most highly branched in all cochlear regions. These results are consistent with a growing body of morphological evidence that suggests that the peripheral branching patterns of OSFs may be fundamentally similar in all mammalian ears.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Cats
  • Cell Count
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / innervation*
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / cytology*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase