When guinea pig cochlea was perfused in vivo with a solution of 1 % horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in artificial perilymph, the enzyme was found in the basilar membrane, spiral limbus, some outer and inner hair cells and some supporting cells and it was gradually cleared away with time. Acute signs of cell damage included swelling, vacuolization and diffuse labeling of some hair cells, but stereocilia remained normal in configuration. Albino melanocytes of the spiral ligament were also damaged, and vacuolization of Reissner's membrane occurred after 10% HRP. Both concentrations caused a gradual decline in CM, showing that HRP is acutely oto-toxic but its mode of action is unknown. No retrograde transport of HRP to spiral ganglion cells or to brain stem neurons occurred, but some brain stem neurons took up HRP from the neuropil following diffusion from the cochlea.
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