Supernumerary outer hair cells arise external to the last row of sensory cells in the organ of corti

P. P. Lefebvre, B. Malgrange, M. Thiry, I. Breuskin, T. R. Van De Water, G. Moonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


During the development of the mammalian inner ear, the number of hair cells produced is highly regulated and remains constant throughout life. The mechanism underlying this regulation is beginning to be understood although many aspects still remain obscure. When late embryonic or early postnatal rat organs of Corti were cultured, the production of supernumerary hair cells was observed. This overproduction of sensory cells could be modulated by the addition of several growth factors. In this study, we examined explants of rat organs of Corti that produced supernumerary hair cells. In the supernumerary hair cell region, up to two rows of inner hair cells and five rows of outer hair cells were observed. Morphological evaluation of these specimens revealed that less mature hair cells were located in the most external rows of these sensory cells. When a supernumerary hair cell was produced, a supporting cell (i.e. Deiters' cell) was also produced, strongly suggesting that the conversion of a Deiters' cell into a hair cell was not the mechanism that produced these extra hair cells. Based on these results, we propose that prosensory cells located at the external edge of the organ of Corti retain a capacity to form hair cells and that it is these prosensory cells that differentiate into supernumerary hair cells and Deiters' cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cell conversion
  • Cochlea
  • Supernumerary hair cells
  • Transdifferentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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