3 years ago

ACh-induced hyperpolarization and decreased resistance in mammalian type II vestibular hair cells.

Jobling, Tabatabaee, Poppi, Brichta, Rabbitt, Lim, Migliaccio, Drury, Jordan, Holt, Callister
In the mammalian vestibular periphery, electrical activation of the efferent vestibular system (EVS) has two effects on afferent activity: 1) increases background afferent discharge; and 2) decreases afferent sensitivity to rotational stimuli. While the cellular mechanisms underlying these two contrasting afferent responses remain obscure, we postulated that the reduction in afferent sensitivity was attributed, in part, to the activation of alpha9-containing nAChRs ( 9nAChRs) and small-conductance potassium channels (SK) in vestibular type II hair cells, as demonstrated in the peripheral vestibular system of other vertebrates. To test this hypothesis, we examined the effects of the predominant EVS neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) on vestibular type II hair cells from wild type (wt) and α9nAChR-subunit knockout (α9-/-) mice. Immunostaining for choline acetyltransferase revealed there were no obvious gross morphological differences in the peripheral EVS innervation among any of these strains. ACh application onto wt type II hair cells, at resting potentials, produced a fast inward current followed by a slower outward current, resulting in membrane hyperpolarization and decreased membrane resistance. Hyperpolarization and decreased resistance were due to gating of SK channels. Consistent with activation of α9*nAChRs and SK channels, these ACh-sensitive currents were antagonized by the α9*nAChR blocker strychnine and SK blockers apamin and tamapin. Type II hair cells from α9-/- mice, however, failed to respond to ACh at all. These results confirm the critical importance of α9nAChRs in efferent modulation of mammalian type II vestibular hair cells. Application of exogenous ACh reduces electrical impedance thereby decreasing type II hair cell sensitivity.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00030.2017

DOI: 10.1152/jn.00030.2017

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