Identification of live hair cells in rat cochlear sections in culture with FM1-43 fluorescent dye

Jun Fukuda, Hisako Ishimine, Motohide Tokunaga

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Cochlear hair cells are presumed to live in culture for many days, yet they are difficult to identify in cultured tissues. We stained hair cells in cochlear sections with FM1-43 and cultured them in collagen matrix. Three rows of outer hair cells and a single row of inner ones were distinguished by staining with FM1-43. Fixation of the sections with paraformaldehyde caused loss of the FM1-43 fluorescence, indicating that FM1-43 stained only live hair cells. In sections cultured for 48 h, almost all hair cells were still positive with FM1-43. Culture with gentamycin caused loss of FM1-43-positive cells. In serum-free, long-term cultures (15 days) performed without antibiotics or neurotrophins, the row alignment of FM1-43-positive hair cells was still maintained. Membranous labyrinth-like vacuoles enveloping hair cells were formed in the collagen matrix. Accordingly, FM1-43 is an efficient marker for identifying live hair cells in cultured tissues. Moreover, cochlear hair cells are revealed to live for weeks in serum-free culture without exogenous neurotrophins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 23-01-2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


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