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Internal Supporting Cell

Internal Supporting Cell

Epitheliocytus sustenans internus

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Quick Facts

The internal supporting cells are a row of columnar supporting cells that delimit the inner boundary of the organ of Corti (Dorland, 2011).

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Structure and/or Key Feature(s)

The internal supporting cells are one of the three types of epithelial cells that support the inner hair cell. The other supporting cells are the inner phalangeal epithelial cells and the inner pillar cells.

The internal supporting cells are connected to the surrounding cells via cell junctions, notably adherens junctions and tight junctions, which link them to the other inner border cells, as well as the other supporting cells such as the inner phalangeal epithelial cells. The cells can communicate with each other via established gap junctions.

Anatomical Relations

The inner border cells, along with the other supporting cells, are inferior to the undersurface of the tectorial membrane, and superior to the basilar membrane. They are the most internal epithelial cells of the organ of Corti. They are interjacent to the inner phalangeal epithelial cells and the epithelial cells lining the inner spiral sulcus.


The inner border cells have a sturdy cytoskeleton that helps preserve the structural organization of the inner hair cells. Their gap junctions allow for effective communication between cells and are useful in recognizing the presence of damage associated molecular patterns emitted from neighboring cells; thus, they can then initiate or contribute to a localized inflammatory response.


Dorland, W. (2011) Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd edn. Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier Saunders.

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