Brain-Specific Angiogenesis Inhibitor 3 Is Expressed in the Cochlea and Is Necessary for Hearing Function in Mice

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Dec 4;24(23):17092. doi: 10.3390/ijms242317092.


Mammalian auditory hair cells transduce sound-evoked traveling waves in the cochlea into nerve stimuli, which are essential for hearing function. Pillar cells located between the inner and outer hair cells are involved in the formation of the tunnel of Corti, which incorporates outer-hair-cell-driven fluid oscillation and basilar membrane movement, leading to the fine-tuned frequency-specific perception of sounds by the inner hair cells. However, the detailed molecular mechanism underlying the development and maintenance of pillar cells remains to be elucidated. In this study, we examined the expression and function of brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor 3 (Bai3), an adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor, in the cochlea. We found that Bai3 was expressed in hair cells in neonatal mice and pillar cells in adult mice, and, interestingly, Bai3 knockout mice revealed the abnormal formation of pillar cells, with the elevation of the hearing threshold in a frequency-dependent manner. Furthermore, old Bai3 knockout mice showed the degeneration of hair cells and spiral ganglion neurons in the basal turn. The results suggest that Bai3 plays a crucial role in the development and/or maintenance of pillar cells, which, in turn, are necessary for normal hearing function. Our results may contribute to understanding the mechanisms of hearing loss in human patients.

Keywords: cochlea; hair cell; hearing; knockout mice; pillar cell; spiral ganglion neuron.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cochlea* / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer
  • Hearing*
  • Membrane Proteins* / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins* / genetics


  • Adgrb3 protein, mouse
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins