The aim of this study was to observe morphological changes of the cultured otocysts isolated from various stages of the chick embryo. Isolated otocysts were dissected from embryonic day, E2.5-4.5 of incubation (HH stage 16-26) according to stages of developing inner ear. Morphology of the chick otocyst exhibited an ovoid shape. The width and height of the otocyst were 0.2 mm and 0.3 mm, respectively. Elongation of a tube-like structure, the endolymphatic duct, was found at the dorsal aspect of the otocyst. The cultured otocyst is lined by the otic epithelium and surrounding periotic mesenchymal cells started to migrate outwards the lateral aspect of such epithelium. Notably, the acoustic-vestibular ganglion (AVG) was observed at the ventrolateral aspect of the otocyst. Appearance of AVG in vitro can be applied for studying chemical-induced ototoxicity and sensorineural hearing loss. It was concluded that the organ- cultured otocyst of the chick embryo could be used as a model to study sensory organ development of avian inner ear.
KEY WORDS: Chick embryo; Inner ear; Otocyst; Otic development.