Conductive hearing loss results in a decrease in central auditory system activity in the young gerbil.
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: The impact of childhood conductive HL (CHL) on development of auditory function has long been debated. The present study was conducted to define and compare the consequences of CHL and cochlear ablation (CA) in young and adult animals, using 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) uptake as a measure of metabolic activity. It was hypothesized that, for both ages, CHL would result in a decrease in activity in the major ascending central auditory system pathway of the manipulated ear, but that this decrease would be significantly less than that observed with CA. STUDY DESIGN: Sham-controlled study of metabolic effects of CHL during sound stimulation. METHODS: Gerbils (aged 21 days or adult), underwent malleus removal, CA, or a sham procedure. Young animals survived either 48 hours or 3 weeks; adults survived 3 weeks. Each age/survival CHL group contained eight animals; otherwise, each group (CA and sham) contained five animals, for a total number of 54. At the appropriate survival time, animals were given an intracardiac injection of 14C-2-DG, and sacrificed under anesthesia after 45 minutes of exposure to normal laboratory sounds. Tissue sections were prepared for exposure to x-ray film for optical density measurements, and alternate sections stained for identification of nuclei. Measurements from auditory nuclei of experimental animals were corrected against an unaffected control area (abducens nucleus) and compared with measurements taken from animals in the sham group. Auditory evoked potential thresholds to both air- and bone-conducted stimuli were obtained in a second group of neonatal and adult animals. RESULTS: Both CHL and CA resulted in a marked decrease in 2-DG uptake in the major ascending projection of the manipulated ear, in both the neonatal and adult animals. In young animals, effects of CHL and CA were similar. Effects of CHL in adult animals were less marked and significantly different from either effects of CHL in young animals or effects of CA in adult animals. HL following malleus removal only was purely conductive and ranged from 38 to 55 dB across frequency. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that, particularly in young animals, a unilateral CHL may have profound effects on metabolic activity in the central auditory system.
Tucci, DL; Cant, NB; Durham, D
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