Tenascin was immunolocalized in the chinchilla cochlea and vestibular system to better understand the functional morphology of the inner ear. Inner ear tissues were fixed with acetone, decalcified and cryosectioned. Indirect immunofluorescence, using antibodies directed against human tenascin epitopes, were used to detect tenascin. As a positive control, tenascin immunoreactivity was found in kidney, cortical mesangial cells and the extracellular matrix of glomeruli and medullary tubule interstitial spaces, concurring with previously reported results. In the cochlea, tenascin immunoreactivity was present in osteocytes, the mesothelial cells underlying the basilar membrane (BM) and within the fibrous matrix of the BM. Greater reactivity was observed in the mesothelial cells than in the fibrous matrix of the BM. In the vestibular system, tenascin immunoreactivity formed a diffuse band directly beneath the basal lamina of the ampullary and otoconial organs. Tenascin immunoreactivity was also observed in cup-shaped regions between the type I vestibular hair cells and their surrounding VIII nerve calyces in the ampullary and otoconial organs. This is the first report of the anatomical distribution of tenascin in the adult, mammalian inner ear, other than our previously published abstract P.A. Santi and D. Swartz, Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 23 (1997) 731.
- Confocal microscopy
- Inner ear