Targeted single-cell electroporation loading of Ca2+ indicators in the mature hemicochlea preparation

Eszter Berekméri, Orsolya Deák, Tímea Téglás, Éva Sághy, Tamás Horváth, Máté Aller, Ádám Fekete, L. Köles, T. Zelles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ca2+ is an important intracellular messenger and regulator in both physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms in the hearing organ. Investigation of cellular Ca2+ homeostasis in the mature cochlea is hampered by the special anatomy and high vulnerability of the organ. A quick, straightforward and reliable Ca2+ imaging method with high spatial and temporal resolution in the mature organ of Corti is missing. Cell cultures or isolated cells do not preserve the special microenvironment and intercellular communication, while cochlear explants are excised from only a restricted portion of the organ of Corti and usually from neonatal pre-hearing murines. The hemicochlea, prepared from hearing mice allows tonotopic experimental approach on the radial perspective in the basal, middle and apical turns of the organ. We used the preparation recently for functional imaging in supporting cells of the organ of Corti after bulk loading of the Ca2+ indicator. However, bulk loading takes long time, is variable and non-selective, and causes the accumulation of the indicator in the extracellular space. In this study we show the improved labeling of supporting cells of the organ of Corti by targeted single-cell electroporation in mature mouse hemicochlea. Single-cell electroporation proved to be a reliable way of reducing the duration and variability of loading and allowed subcellular Ca2+ imaging by increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, while cell viability was retained during the experiments. We demonstrated the applicability of the method by measuring the effect of purinergic, TRPA1, TRPV1 and ACh receptor stimulation on intracellular Ca2+ concentration at the cellular and subcellular level. In agreement with previous results, ATP evoked reversible and repeatable Ca2+ transients in Deiters’ Hensen's and Claudius’ cells. TRPA1 and TRPV1 stimulation by AITC and capsaicin, respectively, failed to induce any Ca2+ response in the supporting cells, except in a single Hensen's cell in which AITC evoked transients with smaller amplitude. AITC also caused the displacement of the tissue. Carbachol, agonist of ACh receptors induced Ca2+ transients in about a third of Deiters’ and fifth of Hensen's cells. Here we have presented a fast and cell-specific indicator loading method allowing subcellular functional Ca2+ imaging in supporting cells of the organ of Corti in the mature hemicochlea preparation, thus providing a straightforward tool for deciphering the poorly understood regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis in these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalHearing Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • ATP
  • Ca imaging
  • Hemicochlea
  • Single-cell electroporation
  • TRPA1
  • TRPV1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems

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