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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 19  |  Page : 1--18

Is the aged rat ear more susceptible to noise or styrene damage than the young ear?

Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité‚ Laboratoire Multinuisances, Vandoeuvre, France

Correspondence Address:
P Campo
Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité‚ Laboratoire Multinuisances, Avenue de Bourgogne, BP 27, 54501 Vandoeuvre
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 12804208

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Noise- and styrene-induced hearing and hair cell loss were studied in young (3 months) and aged (24-26 months) Long-Evans rats. The animals were exposed 6 h/d, 5 d/w for 4 weeks to (a) broadband noise centered at 8 kHz (92 or 97dB SPL), or (b) styrene (700 ppm). Auditory sensitivity was tested by recording evoked potentials from the inferior colliculus. Histological analyses of the organ of Corti, stria vascularis, and the spiral ganglions were also performed. Aged controls showed outer hair cell (OHC) loss at the basal and apical regions of the organ of Corti, and an increase in pigmentation concomitant to a decrease in vascularization of the stria vascularis, along with elevated thresholds relative to young controls. The 92-dB noise caused similar threshold shifts in both age groups, whereas the 97-dB noise caused more threshold shifts in the aged group compared to the young group. Recovery of the hearing thresholds depended both on the intensity of the noise and on the age of the animals. Aged rats had minimal hair cell loss as a result of styrene exposure, whereas young animals showed significant OHC loss, particularly in third row. Despite significant loss of OHCs, the young subjects showed styrene-induced threshold shifts only at high frequencies. In summary, the data show that : (a) there is an influence of age on both noise-induced and styrene-induced threshold shift and hair cell loss in rats and (b) the cochlea appear to have a redundancy in the number of OHCs, thus threshold shift does not necessarily occur with significant OHC loss.


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