Morphology and ciliary motion of mucosa in the eustachian tube of neonatal and adult gerbils

Yi Li, Huizhan Liu, Jun Li, Qian Zhang, Shusheng Gong, David Z. He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Eustachian tube is a small canal that connects the tympanic cavity with the nasal part of the pharynx. The epithelial lining of the Eustachian tube contains a ciliated columnar epithelium at the tympanic cavity and a pseudostratified, ciliated columnar epithelium with goblet cells near the pharynx. The tube serves to equalize air pressure across the eardrum and drains mucus away from the middle ear into the nasopharynx. Blockage of the Eustachian tube is the most common cause of all forms of otitis media, which is common in children. In the present study, we examined the epithelial lining of the Eustachian tube in neonatal and adult gerbils, with a focus on the morphological and functional development of ciliated cells in the mucosa. The length of the tube is, ∼8.8 mm in adult gerbils. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the mucosal member near the pharyngeal side contains a higher density of ciliated cells and goblet cells than that near the tympanic side. The cilia beat frequency is 11 Hz. During development, the length of the Eustachian tube increased significantly between postnatal day 1 (P1) and P18. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the mucosa contained a high density of ciliated cells with a few goblet cells at P1. The density of ciliated cells decreased while the density of goblet cells increased during development. At P18, the mucosa appeared to be adult-like. Interestingly, the ciliary beat frequency measured from ciliated cells at P1 was not statistically different from that measured from adult animals. Our study suggests that the Eustachian tube undergoes significant anatomical and histological changes between P1 and P18. The tube is morphologically and functionally mature at P18, when the auditory function (sensitivity and frequency selectivity) is mature in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere99840
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 12 2014

Fingerprint

Eustachian Tube
gerbils
Gerbillinae
goblet cells
mucosa
Mucous Membrane
Goblet Cells
Linings
Middle Ear
pharynx
Scanning electron microscopy
Cell Count
Canals
cells
Pharynx
scanning electron microscopy
epithelium
Electron Scanning Microscopy
Animals
nasopharynx

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

Cite this

Morphology and ciliary motion of mucosa in the eustachian tube of neonatal and adult gerbils. / Li, Yi; Liu, Huizhan; Li, Jun; Zhang, Qian; Gong, Shusheng; He, David Z.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 6, e99840, 12.06.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Li, Yi ; Liu, Huizhan ; Li, Jun ; Zhang, Qian ; Gong, Shusheng ; He, David Z. / Morphology and ciliary motion of mucosa in the eustachian tube of neonatal and adult gerbils. In: PLoS One. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 6.
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