OBJECTIVES: Apoptosis may play an important role in the mechanism underlying the GJB2 gene conditional knockout (cCx26) mice cochlear cell death. The objective of this study was to explore the the damage mode of the outer hair cells (OHCs) and its real time point of apoptosis and provide information to further explore the role of apoptosis in the happening of hearing loss in cCx26 mice. METHODS: Cochleae from mice at various developmental stages (P8, P12, and P21) were dissected out and first used to be observed under the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Basilar membranes from mice at P8, P14, P18, and P21 were stained by fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated phalloidin and propidium iodide (PI) and examined under confocal microscope. RESULTS: The loss of OHCs of cCx26 knockout mice was first set between P12 and P21 under SEM. Whole mount phalloidin and PI staining revealed that obvious apoptotic appearance of the OHCs surface morphology was observed at P18. CONCLUSION: Typical apoptotic morphology was found in the OHCs in the organ of Corti of the cCx26 mice at P18. This may provide information to further study the role of apoptosis in the occurrence of hearing loss of cCx26 mice.