Deiters cells in the gerbil cochlea disclosed unusual ultrastructural features. A sharp transition zone separated the cell body underlying outer hair cells into an upper compartment with numerous organelles and a lower part devoid of structures other than the microtubule stalk. Deiters cells exhibited a unique structure, the rosette complex, which consisted of a core of densely fibrillar trabeculae, enclosed in a filamentous meshwork and surrounded by tubulocisternal endoplasmic reticulum. The dense trabeculae radiated in columns downward from an apical translucent area toward a lucent zone around the nucleus. They also spread to the medial plasmalemma enveloping nerves and upward into the base of the phalanx. Frequent, small Golgi complexes bordered the tubular reticulum. The distinctive mitochondria of Deiters cells frequently paralleled the plasmalemma, revealed an elongated, often arched profile, and contained sparse, longitudinally aligned cristae. The stalk, composed of characteristic microtubule bundles resembling those in pillar cells, ascended from basal to apical plasmalemma of the cell body and into the phalanx and reticular lamina as previously described. The stalk appeared also to ramify into smaller microtubule bundles in apical cytosol penetrating the rosette complex. Nuclei in Deiters cells differed from those in hair cells in their location high in the cell and in showing chromatin dispersion indicative of more active protein synthesis. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.