Expression of the carrier protein apolipoprotein D in the mouse inner ear

Michael S. Hildebrand, Michelle G. De Silva, Tuomas Klockars, C. Arturo Solares, Keiko Hirose, Jonathan D. Smith, Shutish C. Patel, Hans Henrik M. Dahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The cochlear portion of the inner ear converts movements produced by sound waves into electrical impulses. Transcripts enriched in the cochlea are likely to have an important role in hearing. In this paper, we report that microarray analyses of the Soares NMIE inner ear library revealed cochlear enriched expression of apolipoprotein D (apoD), a glycoprotein and member of the lipocalin family that transport small hydrophobic ligands. The cochlear enriched expression of Apod was validated by quantitative real time PCR analysis. To investigate the function of apoD in the inner ear the transcript and protein were localised in the cochlea. Apod messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was localised to the spiral ligament and spiral limbus, particularly in the suprastrial and supralimbral regions. The apoD protein was detected in the spiral ligament, spiral limbus and also in the outer hair cells of the organ of Corti. Investigation of cell lines exhibiting characteristics of hair and supporting cells revealed no Apod mRNA expression in these cells. This suggests transport of the protein within the cochlea, followed by internalisation into outer hair cells. The spiral limbus and ligament contain subpopulations of fibrocytes that are intimately involved in regulation of ion balance in the cochlear fluids and type I, II and III fibrocytes of the spiral ligament were all shown to be positive for apoD protein. On the basis of these results it was hypothesised that apoD could be involved in maintaining cochlear fluid homeostasis. To determine whether the apoD gene product was important for normal auditory function the hearing ability of an apoD knockout mouse was tested. The mouse was found to have a hearing threshold that was not significantly different to the control strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-114
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein D
  • Inner ear
  • Outer hair cells
  • Potassium recycling
  • Spiral ligament
  • Spiral limbus
  • apoD knockout mouse model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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