The purpose of the present study was to examine the spatio-temporal pattern of cell proliferation in the chick cochlea in response to the sensory hair cell loss induced by a 1.5 kHz pure tone at 120 dB SPL (1 dB = 20 muPa) for 48 h. DNA replication was evaluated with the bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) pulse-fix technique. One group of birds was given multiple injections of BrdU (50 mg/kg) over a period of 8 h at various starting times during or after the exposure. Afterwards, their cochleas were removed and processed as whole mounts for BrdU immunohistochemistry. The cochleas of a second group of acoustically traumatized chicks were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy in order to determine the spatio-temporal pattern of hair cell loss. Hair cell loss was first observed 12 h after the start of the exposure and DNA replication started near the inferior edge of the hair cell lesion 24–32 h after the start of the exposure, i.e. 12–20 h after the first sign of hair cell loss. The site of hair cell loss and DNA replication shifted toward the superior edge of the basilar papilla as the exposure continued. The rate of DNA replication accelerated and reached its peak near the end of the 48 h exposure. The estimated latency of cell proliferation after hair cell loss was faster and the duration of DNA replication shorter than that observed in other sensory systems. The spatio-temporal pattern of DNA replication follows the spatio-temporal gradient of hair cell loss, suggesting that cell proliferation is triggered by hair cell loss itself rather than by intrinsic positional cues or gradients.
- © 1993 by Company of Biologists