A previous study showed that people living in urban areas are generally exposed to low-frequency noise (LFN) with frequencies below 100 Hz and sound levels of 60–110 dB in daily and occupational environments. Exposure to LFN has been shown to affect balance in humans and mice. However, there is no information about prevention of LFN-mediated imbalance because of a lack of information about the target region based on health risk assessment of LFN exposure. Here, we show that acute exposure to LFN at 100 Hz, 95 dB, but not at 85 dB or 90 dB, for only 1 h caused imbalance in mice. The exposed mice also had decreased cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP) with impaired activity of vestibular hair cells. Since imbalance in the exposed mice was irreversible, morphological damage in the vestibules of the exposed mice was further examined. The exposed mice had breakage of the otoconial membrane in the vestibule. LFN-mediated imbalance and breakage of the otoconial membrane in mice were rescued by overexpression of a stress-reactive molecular chaperone, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), which has been shown to be induced by exposure of mice to 12 h per day of LFN at 95 dB for 5 days. Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate that acute exposure to LFN at 100 Hz, 95 dB for only 1 h caused irreversible imbalance in mice with structural damage of the otoconial membrane as the target region for LFN-mediated imbalance, which can be rescued by Hsp70.
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This study was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (16H01639 and 18H04975), Scientific Research (A) (15H01743, 15H02588, and 19H01147), (B) (17KT0033) and (C) (25460178, 16K08343, and 17K09156) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Mirai-Program Small Start Type from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), DAIKO FOUNDATION, Kobayashi International Scholarship Foundation and AEON Environmental Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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Negishi-Oshino, R., Ohgami, N., He, T. et al. Heat shock protein 70 is a key molecule to rescue imbalance caused by low-frequency noise. Arch Toxicol 93, 3219–3228 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-019-02587-3
- Low-frequency noise
- Otoconial membrane