Mechanism Underlying the Effects of Estrogen Deficiency on Otoconia

  • Liping Yang
  • Yinfang Xu
  • Yan Zhang
  • Sarath Vijayakumar
  • Sherri M. Jones
  • Yunxia (Yesha) Wang LundbergEmail author
Research Article


Otoconia-related vertigo and balance deficits, particularly benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), are common. Our recent studies in humans show that, while BPPV prevalence greatly increases with age in both genders, peri-menopausal women are especially susceptible. In the present study, we show that bilateral ovariectomized (OVX) mice have significant balance behavioral deficits, and that estrogen deficiency compromises otoconia maintenance and anchoring by reducing the expression of otoconial component and anchoring proteins. There is ectopic debris formation in the ampulla under estrogen deficiency due to aberrant matrix protein expression. Furthermore, phytoestrogen is effective in rescuing the otoconia abnormalities. By comparing the expression levels of known estrogen receptor (Esr) subtypes, and by examining the otoconia phenotypes of null mice for selected receptors, we postulate that Esr2 may be critical in mediating the effects of estrogen in otoconia maintenance.


otoconia estrogen deficiency phytoestrogen menopause BPPV estrogen receptor 


Funding Information

This work was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, DC008603, DC008603-S1 and DC014748 to Y.W.L.

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 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liping Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yinfang Xu
    • 1
  • Yan Zhang
    • 1
  • Sarath Vijayakumar
    • 3
  • Sherri M. Jones
    • 3
  • Yunxia (Yesha) Wang Lundberg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Vestibular Genetics LaboratoryBoys Town National Research HospitalOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Changsha Environmental Protection CollegeChangshaChina
  3. 3.Department of Special Education and Communication DisordersUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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