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Identification of two types of melanocyte within the stria vascularis of the mouse inner ear

Cable, Joanne and Steel, K. P. 1991. Identification of two types of melanocyte within the stria vascularis of the mouse inner ear. Pigment Cell Research 4 (2) , pp. 87-101.

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We have distinguished two types of melanocyte within the intermediate layer of the stria vascularis in the cochlea of normally pigmented mice: light and dark intermediate cells. The light intermediate cells are present in the stria from birth and have the typical appearance of a melanocyte. They are large and dendritic with electron-lucent cytoplasm containing numerous vesicles that show tyrosinase activity, and pigment granules in various stages of development. These granules have the ultrastructural and histochemical characteristics of premelanosomes and melanosomes. The light intermediate cells persist throughout life, but less frequently contain pigment in older animals. The dark intermediate cells, present only in adult mice, vary considerably in number and distribution between animals. Pigment granules, bound within an electron-dense acid phosphatase-rich matrix, form the main component of the dark intermediate cells. The intermediate cells may comprise either two distinct cell populations or different developmental stages of the same cell type; ultrastructural observations suggest the latter. In young mice, light intermediate cells contain the electron-dense matrices, which at later stages of development are found almost exclusively in dark cells. The dark intermediate cells contain few cell organelles other than pigment granules accumulated within lysosomal bodies and they often have pycnotic nuclei. These observations suggest that the dark intermediate cells are a degenerate form of the light intermediate cells. Clusters of melanosomes also occur in the basal cells, and to a much lesser extent in the marginal cells. These cells do not stain after incubation in DOPA, suggesting that they are not capable of melanin synthesis, and therefore probably acquire melanin by donation from adjacent melanocytes. Pigment clusters are also found within the spiral ligament at all stages of development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0893-5785
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:38

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