KCNQ4, a novel potassium channel expressed in sensory outer hair cells, is mutated in dominant deafness. (1/1036)

Potassium channels regulate electrical signaling and the ionic composition of biological fluids. Mutations in the three known genes of the KCNQ branch of the K+ channel gene family underlie inherited cardiac arrhythmias (in some cases associated with deafness) and neonatal epilepsy. We have now cloned KCNQ4, a novel member of this branch. It maps to the DFNA2 locus for a form of nonsyndromic dominant deafness. In the cochlea, it is expressed in sensory outer hair cells. A mutation in this gene in a DFNA2 pedigree changes a residue in the KCNQ4 pore region. It abolishes the potassium currents of wild-type KCNQ4 on which it exerts a strong dominant-negative effect. Whereas mutations in KCNQ1 cause deafness by affecting endolymph secretion, the mechanism leading to KCNQ4-related hearing loss is intrinsic to outer hair cells.  (+info)

3D MRI of the membranous labyrinth. An age related comparison of MR findings in patients with labyrinthine fibrosis and in persons without inner ear symptoms. (2/1036)

PURPOSE: We compared MRI of the membranous labyrinth in patients with chronic non-neoplastic inner ear disease and MR signs of labyrinthine fibrosis and controls depending on their age, in order to establish whether there were any MR differences regarding patient age groups, control age groups and between the patients and controls themselves. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clinical ENT examinations as well as a T2* weighted 3D CISS (Constructive Interference in Steady State) sequence with a slice thickness of 0.7 mm were performed. Our collective was subdivided as follows: 0-19 years (10 controls, 3 patients with chronic non-neoplastic inner ear disease), 20-49 years (55 controls, 8 patients), 50 years and older (40 controls, 22 patients). Detectability of labyrinthine structures (e.g. cochlea, vestibule, semicircular canals) and filling defects were evaluated. RESULTS: In the 3 age-groups of the control collective no significant differences were observed in the membranous labyrinth. However differences concerning labyrinthine detectability emerged between controls and patients in both the 20-49 years and 50 years and older age groups. In the patient collective the 3 age groups showed no significant discrepancy in the mean number of lesions. CONCLUSION: Filling defects of the membranous labyrinth on 3D CISS MR images are pathological even in older persons. We would therefore recommend high resolution T2* weighted MRI in the case of suspected labyrinthine fibrosis.  (+info)

CT and MR findings of Michel anomaly: inner ear aplasia. (3/1036)

In 1863, Michel described a condition characterized by a total absence of differentiated inner ear structures associated with other skull base anomalies, including an abnormal course of the facial nerve and jugular veins. Michel aplasia clearly differs from Michel dysplasia, in which arrest of embryologic development occurs later. Recently, the role of otic capsule formation on mesenchymal differentiation was reported as well as the impact of the genetic deletion of the homeobox gene on the development of the ear, cranial nerves, and hindbrain. We report two patients with a total absence of inner ear structures bilaterally, illustrating the characteristic appearance of Michel aplasia and associated skull base anomalies.  (+info)

Characterization of ootolith soluble-matrix producing cells in the saccular epithelium of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) inner ear. (4/1036)

Although the organic matrix may play an important role in the growth of teleost otoliths, cellular contributions to the production of the organic matrix have been studied in only a small number of teleost species with limited methods, and are still poorly understood. In order to characterize saccular epithelial cells which produce otolith matrix, antiserum was raised against an EDTA-soluble fraction of otolith matrix (otolith soluble-matrix, OSM) of the rainbow trout. The components in the OSM and in the endolymph were characterized by immunoblotting. The saccular epithelium was immunohistochemically stained with the antiserum and the ultrastructure of OSM immunoreactive cells was studied. By immunoblotting, multiple components (> 94.0 kDa [smeared] and 43.0 kDa) in the OSM reacted with the antiserum, whereas only one band (> 94.0 kDa) was detected in the endolymph. Under immunohistochemical staining, reactions to the antiserum were observed in columnar cells lined at the most peripheral region of the sensory epithelium, transitional epithelial cells, and squamous epithelial cells. Electron microscopic observations revealed that all three types of cells were equipped with extended rough endoplasmic reticulum and prominent Golgi apparatus, suggesting the active production of organic material(s). Dilations of translucent vesicles, apocrine-like extrusions of cytoplasm, and vesicles containing many minute globules were frequently associated with the apical surface of these cells. Some ruptured vesicles were observed, releasing their contents into the endolymphatic space. The present study identified columnar cells lining the most peripheral region of the sensory epithelium, transitional epithelial cells, and squamous epithelial cells as the OSM-producing cells. We suggest that the OSM components are secreted and dissolved into the endolymph and subsequently deposited onto the otolith.  (+info)

Otx1 and Otx2 activities are required for the normal development of the mouse inner ear. (5/1036)

The Otx1 and Otx2 genes are two murine orthologues of the Orthodenticle (Otd) gene in Drosophila. In the developing mouse embryo, both Otx genes are expressed in the rostral head region and in certain sense organs such as the inner ear. Previous studies have shown that mice lacking Otx1 display abnormal patterning of the brain, whereas embryos lacking Otx2 develop without heads. In this study, we examined, at different developmental stages, the inner ears of mice lacking both Otx1 and Otx2 genes. In wild-type inner ears, Otx1, but not Otx2, was expressed in the lateral canal and ampulla, as well as part of the utricle. Ventral to the mid-level of the presumptive utricle, Otx1 and Otx2 were co-expressed, in regions such as the saccule and cochlea. Paint-filled membranous labyrinths of Otx1-/- mutants showed an absence of the lateral semicircular canal, lateral ampulla, utriculosaccular duct and cochleosaccular duct, and a poorly defined hook (the proximal part) of the cochlea. Defects in the shape of the saccule and cochlea were variable in Otx1-/- mice and were much more severe in an Otx1-/-;Otx2(+/)- background. Histological and in situ hybridization experiments of both Otx1-/- and Otx1-/-;Otx2(+/)- mutants revealed that the lateral crista was absent. In addition, the maculae of the utricle and saccule were partially fused. In mutant mice in which both copies of the Otx1 gene were replaced with a human Otx2 cDNA (hOtx2(1)/ hOtx2(1)), most of the defects associated with Otx1-/- mutants were rescued. However, within the inner ear, hOtx2 expression failed to rescue the lateral canal and ampulla phenotypes, and only variable rescues were observed in regions where both Otx1 and Otx2 are normally expressed. These results suggest that both Otx genes play important and differing roles in the morphogenesis of the mouse inner ear and the development of its sensory organs.  (+info)

Math1: an essential gene for the generation of inner ear hair cells. (6/1036)

The mammalian inner ear contains the cochlea and vestibular organs, which are responsible for hearing and balance, respectively. The epithelia of these sensory organs contain hair cells that function as mechanoreceptors to transduce sound and head motion. The molecular mechanisms underlying hair cell development and differentiation are poorly understood. Math1, a mouse homolog of the Drosophila proneural gene atonal, is expressed in inner ear sensory epithelia. Embryonic Math1-null mice failed to generate cochlear and vestibular hair cells. This gene is thus required for the genesis of hair cells.  (+info)

Lesion-induced plasticity in rat vestibular nucleus neurones dependent on glucocorticoid receptor activation. (7/1036)

1. We have recently shown that neurones in the rostral region of the medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) develop a sustained increase in their intrinsic excitability within 4 h of a lesion of the vestibular receptors of the ipsilateral inner ear. This increased excitability may be important in the rapid recovery of resting activity in these neurones during 'vestibular compensation', the behavioural recovery that follows unilateral vestibular deafferentation. In this study we investigated the role of the acute stress that normally accompanies the symptoms of unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL), and in particular the role of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), in the development of the increase in excitability in the rostral MVN cells after UL in the rat. 2. The compensatory increase in intrinsic excitability (CIE) of MVN neurones failed to occur in animals that were labyrinthectomized under urethane anaesthesia and kept at a stable level of anaesthesia for either 4 or 6 h after UL, so that they did not experience the stress normally associated with the vestibular deafferentation syndrome. In these animals, 'mimicking' the stress response by administration of the synthetic GR agonist dexamethasone at the time of UL, restored and somewhat potentiated CIE in the MVN cells. Administration of dexamethasone in itself had no effect on the intrinsic excitability of MVN cells in sham-operated animals. 3. In animals that awoke after labyrinthectomy, and which therefore experienced the full range of oculomotor and postural symptoms of UL, there was a high level of Fos-like immunoreactivity in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus over 1.5-3 h post-UL, indicating a strong activation of the stress axis. 4. The GR antagonist RU38486 administered at the time of UL abolished CIE in the rostral MVN cells, and significantly delayed behavioural recovery as indicated by the persistence of circular walking. The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist spironolactone administered at the time of UL had no effect. 5. Vestibular compensation thus involves a novel form of 'metaplasticity' in the adult brain, in which the increase in intrinsic excitability of rostral MVN cells and the initial behavioural recovery are dependent both on the vestibular deafferentation and on the activation of glucocorticoid receptors, during the acute behavioural stress response that follows UL. These findings help elucidate the beneficial effects of neuroactive steroids on vestibular plasticity in various species including man, while the lack of such an effect in the guinea-pig may be due to the significant differences in the physiology of the stress axis in that species.  (+info)

Inner ear damage in guinea pigs exposed to stable and impulse noise. (8/1036)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the inner ear damage after exposure to stable noise, impulse noise and stable plus impulse noise in guinea pigs. METHODS: Ninety-six healthy guinea pigs were divided into 3 equal groups. (1) Stable noise group: exposed to 110 dBA stable noise for 3 days, 4 hours per day. (2) Impulse noise group: exposed to 165 dBA simulated cannon fire impulse noise 10 times successively at an interval of 10 seconds. (3) stable plus impulse noise group: exposed to the same stable noise as that in the first group, then after a 2-hour rest, the animals were followed with impulse noise exposures as that in the second group. After those exposure, each of the 3 groups was further divided into 4 subgroups according to the time after the noise exposure, namely, the right after, 7 d, 14 d and 30 d groups. The evoked cortical potential responses to click and tone burst stimulation sound were examined. The surface preparation and celloidine embedded serial section of the cochlea were observed under a light microscope. RESULTS: Both the stable and impulse noise could increase the hearing threshold and damage the inner ear hair cells. The damage in the first group was relatively slight, whereas in group 3 the damage was more severe than that in the other 2 groups. CONCLUSION: For seamen who are working in heavy noise environment, corresponding measures should be taken to protect their ears from noise which induces hearing loss.  (+info)