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Science 288 (5475): 2366-2368

Copyright © 2000 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Cholinergic Synaptic Inhibition of Inner Hair Cells in the Neonatal Mammalian Cochlea

Elisabeth Glowatzki, * Paul A. Fuchs

Efferent feedback onto sensory organs provides a means to modulate input to the central nervous system. In the developing mammalian cochlea, inner hair cells are transiently innervated by efferent fibers, even before sensory function begins. Here, we show that neonatal inner hair cells are inhibited by cholinergic synaptic input before the onset of hearing. The synaptic currents, as well as the inner hair cell's response to acetylcholine, are mediated by a nicotinic (alpha 9-containing) receptor and result in the activation of small-conductance calcium-dependent potassium channels.

The Center for Hearing Sciences, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: eglowatz{at}

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