Journal of vestibular research : equilibrium & orientation

Hair cell specific NTPDase6 immunolocalisation in vestibular end organs: potential role of purinergic signaling in vestibular sensory transduction.

PMID 23302703


A complex extracellular nucleotide signalling system acting on P2 receptors is involved in regulation of cochlear function in the mammalian inner ear. Ectonucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (E-NTPDases) are ectonucleotidases that regulate P2 receptor signalling pathways in mammalian tissues by hydrolysing extracellular nucleotides to the respective nucleosides. All enzymes from the CD39/ENTPD family (NTPDase1-8) are expressed in the adult rat cochlea, but their expression and distribution in the vestibular end organ is unknown. This report demonstrates selective expression of NTPDase6 by rat vestibular hair cells. Hair cells transducing both angular acceleration (crista ampullaris) and static head position (maculae of the utricle and saccule) exhibited strong immunolabelling with a bias towards the sensory pole and in particular, the hair cell bundle. NTPDase6 is an intracellular enzyme that can be released in a soluble form from cell cultures and shows an enzymatic preference for nucleoside 5'-diphosphates, such as guanosine 5'-diphosphate (GDP) and uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP). The main function of NTPDase6 may be the regulation of nucleotide levels in cellular organelles by regulating the conversion of nucleotides to nucleosides. NTPDase6 immunolocalisation in the vestibular end organ could be linked to the regulation of P2 receptor signalling and sensory transduction, including maintenance of vestibular hair bundles.