Molecular organization and fine structure of the human tectorial membrane: is it replenished?

Hisamitsu Hayashi, Annelies Schrott-Fischer, Rudolf Glueckert, Wei Liu, Willi Salvenmoser, Peter Santi, Helge Rask-Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Auditory sensitivity and frequency resolution depend on the physical properties of the basilar membrane in combination with outer hair cell-based amplification in the cochlea. The physiological role of the tectorial membrane (TM) in hair cell transduction has been controversial for decades. New insights into the TM structure and function have been gained from studies of targeted gene disruption. Several missense mutations in genes regulating the human TM structure have been described with phenotypic expressions. Here, we portray the remarkable gradient structure and molecular organization of the human TM. Ultrastructural analysis and confocal immunohistochemistry were performed in freshly fixed human cochleae obtained during surgery. Based on these findings and recent literature, we discuss the role of human TMs in hair cell activation. Moreover, the outcome proposes that the α-tectorin-positive amorphous layer of the human TM is replenished and partly undergoes regeneration during life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-527
Number of pages15
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Electron microscopy
  • Human
  • Tectorial membrane
  • α-tectorin


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