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Distribution and significance of norepinephrine in the lateral cochlear wall of pigmented and albino rats

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Picogram quantities of norepinephrine were found in cochlear regions of pigmented and non-pigmented rats. These regions of the cochlea were the modiolus, organ of Corti-osseous spiral lamina and the lateral cochlear wall. The content of norepinephrine in the modiolus and lateral cochlear wall of the pigmented rat was significantly greater than that in areas of the non-pigmented rat. In contrast, there was no statistical difference between the norepinephrine content of the organ of Corti-osseous spiral lamina region of the pigmented rat and that of the albino rat. Since a major difference between the pigmented and albino rats is the presence of melanin-containing melanocytes in the modiolus and lateral cochlear wall region of the pigmented animals, it is possible that norepinephrine is stored in cochlear melanocytes.

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