Inner ear hair cells, light micrograph

Inner ear hair cells, light micrograph

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Credit: DR DAVID FURNESS, KEELE UNIVERSITY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Inner ear hair cells. Fluorescent light micrograph of sensory hair cells (blue) from the cochlea of the inner ear. The protein GLAST (glutamate-aspartate transporter) has been labelled red. The hairs are surrounded by a fluid called the endolymph. As sound enters the ear it causes waves to form in the endolymph, which in turn cause the hairs to move. The movement is converted into an electrical signal, which is passed to the brain via the auditory nerve. The neurotransmitter glutamate passes the signal from the hair cells to the auditory nerve. However, too much glutamate is toxic to both structures. GLAST serves to mop-up the excess glutamate and so protects the hair cells and nerve fibres from sound-induced damage.

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Keywords: anatomical, anatomy, auditory sense, biochemical, biochemistry, biological, biology, cell, cells, cilia, cilium, cochlea, false-coloured, fluorescence, fluorescent light micrograph, glast, glutamate-aspartate transporter, hairs, healthy, hearing, immunochemistry, immunocytochemistry, immunofluorescence, immunofluorescent, inner ear, light micrograph, light microscope, normal, organ of corti, preventative, protection, protein, scanning electron micrograph, sense, sensitive, sensory hair, sound, stereocilia

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