A study of sensory cells and nerve fibers in man at various ages shows that there is an age-related progressive reduction in the number of both sensory cells and nerve fibers over the age of 40 years.
The reduction is most pronounced in the ampullary crests where it may reach 40%. In the maculae the reduction may reach 20%. Bergström has shown that the reduction is not only a quantitative one but the nerve fibers also become thinner at old age.
Also described are intraepithelial modifications in the sensory epithelia where large amounts of age-induced lipofuscin granules and lysosomes and other modifications appear.
Engström H, Bergström B, Rosenhall U. Vestibular Sensory Epithelia. Arch Otolaryngol. 1974;100(6):411–418. doi:10.1001/archotol.1974.00780040425002
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