Calbindin and parvalbumin are early markers of non-mitotically regenerating hair cells in the bullfrog vestibular otolith organs

P. S. Steyger, M. Burton, J. R. Hawkins, N. R. Schuff, R. A. Baird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Earlier studies have demonstrated hair cell regeneration in the absence of cell proliferation, and suggested that supporting cells could phenotypically convert into hair cells following hair cell loss. Because calcium-binding proteins are involved in gene up-regulation, cell growth, and cell differentiation, we wished to determine if these proteins were up-regulated in scar formations and regenerating hair cells following gentamicin treatment. Calbindin and parvalbumin immunolabeling was examined in control or gentamicin treated (GT) bullfrog saccular and utricular explants cultured for 3 days in amphibian culture medium or amphibian culture medium supplemented with aphidicolin, a blocker of nuclear DNA replication in eukaryotic cells. In control cultures, calbindin and parvalbumin immunolabeled the hair bundles and, less intensely, the cell bodies of mature hair cells. In GT or mitotically-blocked GT (MBGT) cultures, calbindin and parvalbumin immunolabeling was also seen in the hair bundles, cuticular plates, and cell bodies of hair cells with immature hair bundles. Thus, these antigens were useful markers for both normal and regenerating hair cells. Supporting cell immunolabeling was not seen in control cultures nor in the majority of supporting cells in GT cultures. In MBGT cultures, calbindin and parvalbumin immunolabeling was up-regulated in the cytosol of single supporting cells participating in scar formations and in supporting cells with hair cell-like characteristics. These data provide further evidence that non-mitotic hair cell regeneration in cultures can be accomplished by the conversion of supporting cells into hair cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jul 1997


  • Calbindin
  • Hair cells
  • Parvalbumin
  • Regeneration
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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