Kangaroo rats exhibit spongiform degeneration of the central auditory system similar to that found in gerbils

Michael D. McGinn, Brian T. Faddis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Kangaroo rats develop spongiform degeneration of the central auditory system similar to that seen in the gerbil. Light microscopic and transmission electron microscopic study of the cochlear nucleus and auditory nerve root (ANR) of Dipodomys deserti and D. merriami show that spongiform lesions develop in dendrites and oligodendrocytes of the cochlear nucleus and in oligodendrocytes of the ANR that are morphologically indistinguishable from those extensively described in the Mongolian gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus. As in Mongolian gerbils, the spongiform degeneration in Dipodomys were much more numerous in animals continually exposed to modest levels of low-frequency noise (<75 dB SPL). The kangaroo rats with extensive spongiform degeneration also show slightly, but significantly, elevated auditory brainstem evoked response (ABR) thresholds to low-frequency stimuli, a result also found in Mongolian gerbils. These results suggest that the elevated ABR thresholds may be the result of spongiform degeneration. Because low-frequency noise-induced spongiform degeneration has now been shown in the cochlear nucleus of animals from separate families of Rodentia (Heteromyidae and Muridae), the possibility should be investigated that similar noise-induced degenerative changes occur in the central auditory system of other mammals with good low-frequency hearing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
JournalHearing research
Volume104
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1997

Keywords

  • auditory threshold
  • cochlear nucleus
  • degeneration
  • gerbil
  • kangaroo rat

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