The distribution of neurotensin-containing cell bodies and fibers has been observed in the central and peripheral nervous system, including sensory ganglia, but no description has been found in the peripheral auditory system. Here, we investigated the presence of neurotensin immunoreactivity in the cochlea of the adult Wistar rat. Strong neurotensin immunoreactivity was detected in the cytoplasm of the inner hair cells (IHC) and Deiters' cells of the organ of Corti. Outer hair cells (OHC) show weak immunoreaction. Neurotensin immunoreactivity was also found in the neurons and fibers of the spiral ganglia. Quantitative microdensitometric image analysis of the neurotensin immunoreactivity showed a strong immunoreaction in the hair cells of organ of Corti and a moderate to strong labeling in the spiral ganglion neurons. A series of double immunolabeling experiments demonstrated a strong neurotensin immunoreactivity in the parvalbumin immunoreactive IHC and also in the calbindin immunoreactive Deiters' cells. Weak neurotensin immunoreactivity was seen in the calbindin positive OHC. Neurofilament and parvalbumin immunoreactive neurons and fibers in the spiral ganglia showed neurotensin immunoreactivity. Calbindin immunoreactivity was not detected in the spiral ganglion neurons, which are labeled by neurotensin immunoreactivity. The presence of neurotensin in the cochlea may be related to its modulation of neurotransmission in the peripheral auditory pathway. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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