Re: histo. of the Cochlear

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From:Margaret Springett <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Dear Christine
I spent fourteen years of my life studying cochlear hair cells and can
qualify as a technical expert in this field.  How does he want to study
them?  If he wishes to section in the plane of the cells,  decalcification
is not necessary, but he will have to learn how to segment a cochlea that
has been embedded for TEM.  We used to cut the cochlea in half mid-modiolus
and cut each cochlear turn off and separate each turn into four quadrants.
Because the hair cells differ as you ascend the cochlea, each quadrant was
labeled so the region of the cochlea was documented.  The quadrants were
mounted on top of blank blocks with unpolymerized resin and oriented so you
could see the spaces between the hair cells.  Because the hair cells
proceed from the round window to the apex in a spiral staircase
orientation, the quadrants will have to sit on a notched block to expose
the hair cells in the correct cutting plane.  When the quadrant has been
oriented, the bone can be trimmed with a sharp razor blade from behind the
spiral ligament and a small piece of bone that runs under the hair cells
can also be removed.  Hair cells can be thick sectioned (1umthick) with a
glass knife, trimmed again for bone reappearing under the hair cells and
thin sectioned.  This is difficult to learn on your own, but if he
understands the cochlear anatomy, it will be easier. If you need further
assistance, let me know.

>I have been asked about histology of the cochlear of the ear by a student
>who wants to study the hair cells. my advice to him has been that he will
>most probably have to do it at the ultrastructural level using TEM. i do't
>think that light microscopy will help much. Has anyone any experience with
>this sort of thing?. I have no none. I think the specimen would need
>probably need decalcification. What would decal. do to the ultrastructure of
>the hair cells???
>Christine Lee,
>Senior Scientific officer,
>Veterinary Pathology and Anatomy,
>University of Queensland.

Margaret Springett
IEM Specialist at Mayo Foundation
1426 Guggenheim
Rochester, Mn.  55905

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