Zebrafish Anatomical Dictionary

Structure description: hair cells

by Tanya Whitfield

Name: hair cells

Abbreviation: hc

Synonyms: Sensory hair cells


live neuromasts

neuromast polarity

Description: The mechanosensory cell type in the ear and lateral line systems. Hair cells are found in thickened sensory patches, where they sit apically in a pseudostratified epithelium, and are interspersed with supporting cells, which straddle the epithelium. Hair cells have a well-defined apicobasal polarity, with specialised cytoskeletal structures on their apical surfaces. These consist of a bundle of stereocilia, arranged in a stepped array, and a single kinocilium. Stereocilia and kinocilia are embedded in the otolithic membrane (maculae) or a gelatinous cupula (cristae, lateral line neuromasts). Stereocilia vary in number and length, depending on the type of sensory patch. The eccentric location of the kinocilium relative to the stereocilia gives each hair cell a polarity (and thus a particular directional sensitivity) in the plane of the epithelium. Hair cells synapse with afferent and efferent neurons on their basal surfaces.



Parents (forms from): cranial placodal ectoderm (otic vesicle epithelium, lateral line epithelium); there may also be a small contribution from neural crest (Collazo et al., 1994).


Group (member of):



Comments: None