Monitoring Intracellular Calcium Ion Dynamics in Hair Cell Populations with Fluo-4 AM

Kateri J. Spinelli, Peter G. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We optimized Fluo-4 AM loading of chicken cochlea to report hair-bundle Ca2+ signals in populations of hair cells. The bundle Ca2+ signal reported the physiological state of the bundle and cell; extruding cells had very high bundle Fluo-4 fluorescence, cells with intact bundles and tip links had intermediate fluorescence, and damaged cells with broken tip links had low fluorescence. Moreover, Fluo-4 fluorescence in the bundle correlated with Ca2+ entry through transduction channels; mechanically activating transduction channels increased the Fluo-4 signal, while breaking tip links with Ca2+ chelators or blocking Ca2+ entry through transduction channels each caused bundle and cell-body Fluo-4 fluorescence to decrease. These results show that when tip links break, bundle and soma Ca2+ decrease, which could serve to stimulate the hair cell's tip-link regeneration process. Measurement of bundle Ca2+ with Fluo-4 AM is therefore a simple method for assessing mechanotransduction in hair cells and permits an increased understanding of the interplay of tip links, transduction channels, and Ca2+ signaling in the hair cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51874
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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