A persistent pharyngohyostapedial artery: embryologic implications.
A 3-year-old child was examined because of otorrhagia. CT scans showed an unusual vessel, confirmed by angiography, related to a persistent pharyngohyostapedial artery. This embryonic persistent artery associated with the normal internal carotid artery would explain the "duplication" aspect of the internal carotid artery. (+info)
Comparing in vitro, in situ, and in vivo experimental data in a three-dimensional model of mammalian cochlear mechanics.
Normal mammalian hearing is refined by amplification of the motion of the cochlear partition. This partition, comprising the organ of Corti sandwiched between the basilar and tectorial membranes, contains the outer hair cells that are thought to drive this amplification process. Force generation by outer hair cells has been studied extensively in vitro and in situ, but, to understand cochlear amplification fully, it is necessary to characterize the role played by each of the components of the cochlear partition in vivo. Observations of cochlear partition motion in vivo are severely restricted by its inaccessibility and sensitivity to surgical trauma, so, for the present study, a computer model has been used to simulate the operation of the cochlea under different experimental conditions. In this model, which uniquely retains much of the three-dimensional complexity of the real cochlea, the motions of the basilar and tectorial membranes are fundamentally different during in situ- and in vivo-like conditions. Furthermore, enhanced outer hair cell force generation in vitro leads paradoxically to a decrease in the gain of the cochlear amplifier during sound stimulation to the model in vivo. These results suggest that it is not possible to extrapolate directly from experimental observations made in vitro and in situ to the normal operation of the intact organ in vivo. (+info)
Targeted mutagenesis of the POU-domain gene Brn4/Pou3f4 causes developmental defects in the inner ear.
Targeted mutagenesis in mice demonstrates that the POU-domain gene Brn4/Pou3f4 plays a crucial role in the patterning of the mesenchymal compartment of the inner ear. Brn4 is expressed extensively throughout the condensing mesenchyme of the developing inner ear. Mutant animals displayed behavioral anomalies that resulted from functional deficits in both the auditory and vestibular systems, including vertical head bobbing, changes in gait, and hearing loss. Anatomical analyses of the temporal bone, which is derived in part from the otic mesenchyme, demonstrated several dysplastic features in the mutant animals, including enlargement of the internal auditory meatus. Many phenotypic features of the mutant animals resulted from the reduction or thinning of the bony compartment of the inner ear. Histological analyses demonstrated a hypoplasia of those regions of the cochlea derived from otic mesenchyme, including the spiral limbus, the scala tympani, and strial fibrocytes. Interestingly, we observed a reduction in the coiling of the cochlea, which suggests that Brn-4 plays a role in the epithelial-mesenchymal communication necessary for the cochlear anlage to develop correctly. Finally, the stapes demonstrated several malformations, including changes in the size and morphology of its footplate. Because the stapes anlage does not express the Brn4 gene, stapes malformations suggest that the Brn4 gene also plays a role in mesenchymal-mesenchymal signaling. On the basis of these data, we suggest that Brn-4 enhances the survival of mesodermal cells during the mesenchymal remodeling that forms the mature bony labyrinth and regulates inductive signaling mechanisms in the otic mesenchyme. (+info)
Parathyroid hormone-parathyroid hormone-related peptide receptor expression and function in otosclerosis.
The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility that an abnormality related to parathyroid hormone (PTH) action is involved in the increased bone turnover observed in otosclerosis. To do so, expression and function of the PTH-PTH-related peptide (PTHrP) receptor were studied in the involved tissue (stapes) and compared with that in control bone sample obtained from the external auditory canal (EAC) in the same patient in 10 cases of otosclerosis and in 1 case of osteogenesis imperfecta. PTH-PTHrP receptor expression was studied by RT-PCR of RNA prepared from cultured cells in three patients and RNA directly extracted from bone samples in four patients. PTH-PTHrP receptor function was assessed by measuring the stimulation of cAMP production by 0.8, 8, and 80 nM PTH in bone cell cultures in seven cases. Results showed that PTH-PTHrP receptor mRNA expression in the otosclerotic stapes was lower than that in EAC samples (P < 0.05), whereas it was higher in stapes than that in EAC in the case of osteogenesis imperfecta. cAMP production after PTH stimulation was lower in bone cells cultured from otosclerotic stapes compared with that in cells cultured from EAC (range of increase in stimulation: 0.8-4.5 and 1.5-7 in stapes and EAC bone cells, respectively, P < 0.05). In contrast, the stimulation of cAMP production by forskolin was not significantly different in otosclerotic stapes and EAC bone cells (range of increase in stimulation: 20.7-83.1 and 4.9-99.8 in stapes and EAC, respectively, P > 0.05). These results show a lower stimulation of cAMP production in response to PTH associated with a lower PTH-PTHrP receptor mRNA expression in pathological stapes from patients with otosclerosis compared with that in control EAC samples. This difference supports the hypothesis that an abnormal cellular response to PTH contributes to the abnormal bone turnover in otosclerosis. (+info)
Congenital absence of the oval window: radiologic diagnosis and associated anomalies.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In most children with conductive hearing loss, acquired otitis media and/or middle ear effusion are ultimately diagnosed. Congenital conductive hearing loss is a rare condition; absence of the oval window is an unusual pathogenesis for this type of hearing impairment and can be associated with an anomalous horizontal facial nerve canal. Our goal was to describe the imaging features of congenital absence of the oval window, to determine the frequency with which anomalous development of the horizontal facial nerve canal occurs, and to review the developmental error responsible for this malformation. METHODS: Nine temporal bones in seven patients (5 to 36 years old) were found to have an inadequately formed oval window on high-resolution CT scans; seven ears showed complete lack of oval window formation, and two showed partial absence of the oval window. Records were reviewed for clinical information, and images were examined for associated anomalies. RESULTS: Six of nine ears with abnormal oval window formation showed malposition of the horizontal facial nerve canal. In each of these, the canal was abnormally low, overlying the expected location of the oval window; three of the canals lacked a visible bony covering. Seven of the nine ears were found to have a dysplastic or absent stapes. CONCLUSION: Congenital absence of the oval window can be diagnosed on CT studies. In the present series, this anomaly was associated with a grossly aberrant horizontal facial nerve canal in six of nine involved ears. Familiarity with the developmental sequence of oval window formation fosters an understanding of these anomalies. Preoperative recognition is important clinically, as a low facial nerve will block surgical access to the oval window and its presence will alter patient management. (+info)
No evidence of measles virus in stapes samples from patients with otosclerosis.
Otosclerosis is a localized bone dystrophy of unknown etiology mainly involving the stapes. The hypothesis of a persistent infection by the measles virus was based on the inconstant detection of the virus by various methods, including reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) of patients' stapes samples. The aim of this work was to investigate the presence of the measles virus in stapedial otosclerosis foci by different sensitive methods. Pathologic stapes samples were obtained from 35 patients suffering from otosclerosis. Measles virus detection was performed by (i) cocultures of Vero cells and primary cell cultures of bone samples (n = 7), (ii) immunofluorescence study of these cocultures (n = 3), and (iii) RT-PCR on RNA directly obtained from fresh frozen samples (n = 28) and on RNA extracted from the primary cell cultures (n = 2). Viral genomic regions coding for N (nucleoprotein) and M (matrix) proteins were separately amplified. PCR sensitivity was optimized on the measles virus Edmonston strain. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase mRNA was used as a marker of total RNA recovery. PCR products were tested by Southern blot hybridization technique to improve sensitivity and specificity. PCRs amplifying the M and the N protein genes were able to detect the control measles virus RNA at titers as low as 0.1 and 0.01 50% tissue culture infective dose, respectively. With these highly sensitive methods, we could not evidence the presence of the measles virus in any of our bone samples or primary bone cell cultures. Our results do not confirm the hypothesis of persistent measles virus infection in otosclerosis. (+info)
Development of wide-band middle ear transmission in the Mongolian gerbil.
Stapes vibrations were measured in deeply anesthetized adult and neonatal (ages: 14 to 20 days) Mongolian gerbils. In adult gerbils, the velocity magnitude of stapes responses to tones was approximately constant over the entire frequency range of measurements, 1 to 40 kHz. Response phases referred to pressure near the tympanic membrane varied approximately linearly as a function of increasing stimulus frequency, with a slope corresponding to a group delay of 30 micros. In neonatal gerbils, the sensitivity of stapes responses to tones was lower than in adults, especially at mid-frequencies (e.g., by about 15 dB at 10-20 kHz in gerbils aged 14 days). The input impedance of the adult gerbil cochlea, calculated from stapes vibrations and published measurements of pressure in scala vestibuli near the oval window [E. Olson, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 103, 3445-3463 (1998)], is principally dissipative at frequencies lower than 10 kHz. CONCLUSIONS: (a) middle-ear vibrations in adult gerbils do not limit the input to the cochlea up to at least 40 kHz, i.e., within 0.5 oct of the high-frequency cutoff of the behavioral audiogram; and (b) the results in both adult and neonatal gerbils are inconsistent with the hypothesis that mass reactance controls high-frequency ossicular vibrations and support the idea that the middle ear functions as a transmission line. (+info)
Peripheral control of acoustic signals in the auditory system of echolocating bats.
Many species of echolocating bats emit intense orientation sounds. If such intense sounds directly stimulated their ears, detection of faint echoes would be impaired. Therefore, possible mechanisms for the attenuation of self-stimulation were studied with Myotis lucifugus. The acoustic middle-ear-muscle reflex could perfectly and transiently regulate the amplitude of an incoming signal only at its beginning. However, its shortest latency in terms of electromyograms and of the attenuation of the cochlear microphonic was 3-4 and 4-8 msec, respectively, so that these muscles failed to attenuate orientation signals by the reflex. The muscles, however, received a message from the vocalization system when the bat vocalized, and contracted synchronously with vocalization. The duration of the contraction-relaxation was so short that the self-stimulation was attenuated, but the echoes were not. The tetanus-fusion frequency of tha stapedium muscle ranged between 260 and 320/sec. Unlike the efferent fibres in the lateral-line and vestibular systems, the olivo-cochlear bundle showed no sign of attenuation of self-stimulation. (+info)