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Electron Microscope Observations on in Vitro Cultures of the Isolated Fowl Embryo Otocyst

By I. Friedmann


In vitro cultures of isolated fowl embryo otocysts were studied with the electron microscope. Hair cells of the developing organ of Corti and crista ampullaris have been examined with particular reference to the structure of the cilia and of the cell membrane. Two types of hair cells could be distinguished on the basis whether or not they possessed a "kinocilium" and "stereocilia," or "stereocilia" only. The cytoplasmic membranes were simple and there were no multiple vesicular layers in any of the hair cells. The supporting elements consisted of supporting cells flanking the hair cells, fibroblasts, and the cartilaginous otic capsule. Both the cochlear and vestibular sensory area showed rich innervation by mainly non-myelinated fibers with partial myelinization in others. There were well developed ganglion cells present. Bare axons penetrated the basement membrane and spread, amongst the supporting cells sheltering them, to the base of the hair cells where they formed bud-shaped nerve endings but, at the stage of development examined, no calyces. These in vitro cultures of the isolated fowl embryo otocyst provided convenient and suitable material for the electron microscope study of the sensory epithelium of the ear and revealed further that the isolated fowl embryo otocyst possesses great powers of self-differentiation also at the ultrastructural level

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Publisher: The Rockefeller University Press
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