Mechanisms and genes in human strial presbycusis from animal models

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Abstract

Schuknecht proposed a discrete form of presbycusis in which hearing loss results principally from degeneration of cochlear stria vascularis and decline of the endocochlear potential (EP). This form was asserted to be genetically linked, and to arise independently from age-related pathology of either the organ of Corti or cochlear neurons. Although extensive strial degeneration in humans coincides with hearing loss, EPs have never been measured in humans, and age-related EP reduction has never been verified. No human genes that promote strial presbycusis have been identified, nor is its pathophysiology well understood. Effective application of animal models to this issue requires models demonstrating EP decline, and preferably, genetically distinct strains that vary in patterns of EP decline and its cellular correlates. Until recently, only two models, Mongolian gerbils and Tyrp1B-lt mice, were known to undergo age-associated EP reduction. Detailed studies of seven inbred mouse strains have now revealed three strains (C57BL/6J, B6.CAST-Cdh23CAST, CBA/J) showing essentially no EP decline with age, and four strains ranging from modest to severe EP reduction (C57BL/6-Tyrc-2J, BALB/cJ, CBA/CaJ, NOD.NON-H2nbl/LtJ). Collectively, animal models support five basic principles regarding a strial form of presbycusis: 1) Progressive EP decline from initially normal levels as a defining characteristic; 2) Non-universality, not all age-associated hearing loss involves EP decline; 3) A clear genetic basis; 4) Modulation by environment or stochastic events; and 5) Independent strial, organ of Corti, and neural pathology. Shared features between human strial presbycusis, gerbils, and BALB/cJ and C57BL/6-Tyrc-2J mice further suggest this condition frequently begins with strial marginal cell dysfunction and loss. By contrast, NOD.NON-H2nbl mice may model a sequence more closely associated with strial microvascular disease. Additional studies of these and other inbred mouse and rat models should reveal candidate processes and genes that promote EP decline in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Research
Volume1277
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 24 2009

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cochlea
  • Endocochlear potential
  • Gerbil
  • Intermediate cell
  • Marginal cell
  • Melanin
  • Mouse
  • Spiral ligament
  • Stria vascularis
  • Temporal bone

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