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Cochlin in Normal Middle Ear and Abnormal Middle Ear Deposits in DFNA9 and Coch G88E/G88E Mice

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Abstract

DFNA9 sensorineural hearing loss and vestibular disorder, caused by mutations in COCH, has a unique identifying histopathology including prominent acellular deposits in cochlear and vestibular labyrinths. A recent study has shown presence of deposits also in middle ear structures of DFNA9-affected individuals (McCall et al., J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 12:141–149, 2004). To investigate the possible role of cochlin in the middle ear and in relation to aggregate formation, we evaluated middle ear histopathology in our Coch knock-in (Coch G88E/G88E) mouse model, which harbors one of the DFNA9-causative mutations. Our findings reveal accumulation of acellular deposits in the incudomalleal and incudostapedial joints in Coch G88E/G88E mice, similar to those found in human DFNA9-affected temporal bones. Aggregates are absent in negative control Coch +/+ and Coch −/− mice. Thickening of the tympanic membrane (TM) found in humans with DFNA9 was not appreciably detected in Coch G88E/G88E mice at the evaluated age. We investigated cochlin localization first in the Coch +/+mouse and in normal human middle ears, and found prominent and specific cochlin staining in the incudomalleal joint, incudostapedial joint, and the pars tensa of the TM, which are the three sites where abnormal deposits are detected in DFNA9-affected middle ears. Cochlin immunostaining of Coch G88E/G88E and DFNA9-affected middle ears showed mutant cochlin localization within areas of aggregates. Cochlin staining was heterogeneous throughout DFNA9 middle ear deposits, which appear as unorganized and overlapping mixtures of both eosinophilic and basophilic substances. Immunostaining for type II collagen colocalized with cochlin in pars tensa of the tympanic membrane. In contrast, immunostaining for type II collagen did not overlap with cochlin in interossicular joints, where type II collagen was localized in the region of the chondrocytes, but not in the thin layer of the articular surface of the ossicles nor in the eosinophilic deposits with specific cochlin staining.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to dedicate this work to the memory of our beloved friend and colleague, Dr. Saumil Merchant. We are grateful to the individuals and families who have participated in this study and for their generous donations of temporal bones. We thank Dr. John Rosowski and Melissa McKinnon for sharing their expertise in mouse middle ear. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01 DC03402 (to C.C.M.), K08 DC010419 (to K.M.S.), and the Bertarelli Foundation (to K.M.S.).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Cynthia C. Morton.

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Robertson, N.G., O’Malley, J.T., Ong, C.A. et al. Cochlin in Normal Middle Ear and Abnormal Middle Ear Deposits in DFNA9 and Coch G88E/G88E Mice. JARO 15, 961–974 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10162-014-0481-9

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