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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection Causes Degeneration of Cochlear Vasculature and Hearing Loss in a Mouse Model

  • Mattia Carraro
  • Ali Almishaal
  • Elaine Hillas
  • Matthew Firpo
  • Albert Park
  • Robert V. HarrisonEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is one of the most common causes of congenital hearing loss in children. We have used a murine model of CMV infection to reveal functional and structural cochlear pathogenesis. The cerebral cortex of Balb/c mice (Mus musculus) was inoculated with 2000 pfu (plaque forming units) of murine CMV on postnatal day 3. At 6 weeks of age, cochlear function was monitored using auditory brainstem response (ABR) and distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) measures. Histological assessment of cochlear vasculature using a corrosion cast technique was made at 8 weeks. Vascular casts of mCMV-damaged cochleas, and those of untreated control animals, were examined using scanning electron microscopy. We find very large variations in the degree of vascular damage in animals given identical viral injections (2000 pfu). The primary lesion caused by CMV infection is to the stria vascularis and to the adjacent spiral limbus capillary network. Capillary beds of the spiral ligament are generally less affected. The initial vascular damage is found in the mid-apical turn and appears to progress to more basal cochlear regions. After viral migration to the inner ear, the stria vascularis is the primary affected structure. We suggest that initial auditory threshold losses may relate to the poor development or maintenance of the endocochlear potential caused by strial dysfunction. Our increased understanding of the pathogenesis of CMV-related hearing loss is important for defining methods for early detection and treatment.

Keywords

congenital hearing loss sensorineural deafness corrosion casting scanning electron microscopy spiral limbus stria vascularis spiral ligament endocochlear potential endolymphatic potential 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant (RVH) and a Triologic Career Development Award (AP). We thank Jaina Negandhi for her assistance in preparing the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Association for Research in Otolaryngology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mattia Carraro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ali Almishaal
    • 3
  • Elaine Hillas
    • 4
  • Matthew Firpo
    • 4
  • Albert Park
    • 4
    • 5
  • Robert V. Harrison
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Auditory Science Laboratory, Neuroscience and Mental Health ProgramThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  5. 5.Department of OtolaryngologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  6. 6.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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