Norrie disease is caused by mutation of the NDP gene, presenting as congenital blindness followed by later onset of hearing loss. Protecting patients from hearing loss is critical for maintaining their quality of life. This study aimed to understand the onset of pathology in cochlear structure and function. By investigating patients and juvenile Ndp-mutant mice, we elucidated the sequence of onset of physiological changes (in auditory brainstem responses, distortion product otoacoustic emissions, endocochlear potential, blood-labyrinth barrier integrity) and determined the cellular, histological, and ultrastructural events leading to hearing loss. We found that cochlear vascular pathology occurs earlier than previously reported and precedes sensorineural hearing loss. The work defines a disease mechanism whereby early malformation of the cochlear microvasculature precedes loss of vessel integrity and decline of endocochlear potential, leading to hearing loss and hair cell death while sparing spiral ganglion cells. This provides essential information on events defining the optimal therapeutic window and indicates that early intervention is needed. In an era of advancing gene therapy and small-molecule technologies, this study establishes Ndp-mutant mice as a platform to test such interventions and has important implications for understanding the progression of hearing loss in Norrie disease.
Dale Bryant, Valda Pauzuolyte, Neil J. Ingham, Aara Patel, Waheeda Pagarkar, Lucy A. Anderson, Katie E. Smith, Dale A. Moulding, Yeh C. Leong, Daniyal J. Jafree, David A. Long, Amina Al-Yassin, Karen P. Steel, Daniel J. Jagger, Andrew Forge, Wolfgang Berger, Jane C. Sowden, Maria Bitner-Glindzicz
Defective primary cilia cause a range of diseases called ciliopathies, which include hearing loss (HL). Variants in human oxysterol binding protein like 2 (OSBPL2/ORP2) are responsible for autosomal dominant nonsyndromic HL (DFNA67). However, the pathogenesis of OSBPL2 deficiency has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we showed that the Osbpl2-knockout (KO) mice exhibited progressive HL and abnormal cochlea development with defective cilia. Further research revealed that OSBPL2 was located at the base of kinocilia in hair cells (HCs) and primary cilia in supporting cells (SCs), and functioned in the maintenance of ciliogenesis by regulating the homeostasis of PI(4,5)P2 on the cilia membrane. OSBPL2 deficiency led to a significant increase of PI(4,5)P2 on the cilia membrane, which could be partially rescued by the overexpression of INPP5E. In addition, the key molecules in Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway (SMO and GLI3) were detected to be down-regulated in Osbpl2-KO HEI-OC1 cells. Our findings revealed that OSBPL2 deficiency resulted in ciliary defects and abnormal Shh signaling transduction in auditory cells, which helped to elucidate the underlying mechanism of OSBPL2 deficiency in HL.
Hairong Shi, Hongshun Wang, Cheng Zhang, Yajie Lu, Jun Yao, Zhibin Chen, Guangqian Xing, Qinjun Wei, Xin Cao
TrkB agonist drugs are shown here to have a significant effect on the regeneration of afferent cochlear synapses after noise-induced synaptopathy. The effects were consistent with regeneration of cochlear synapses that we observed in vitro after synaptic loss due to kainic acid-induced glutamate toxicity and were elicited by administration of TrkB agonists, amitriptyline and 7,8- dihydroxyflavone, directly into the cochlea via the posterior semicircular canal 48 h after exposure to noise. Synaptic counts at the inner hair cell and wave 1 amplitudes in the ABR were partially restored 2 weeks after drug treatment. Effects of amitriptyline on wave 1 amplitude and afferent auditory synapse numbers in noise-exposed ears after systemic (as opposed to local) delivery were profound and long-lasting; synapses in the treated animals remained intact one year after the treatment. However, the effect of systemically delivered amitriptyline on synaptic rescue was dependent on dose and the time window of administration: it was only effective when given before noise exposure at the highest injected dose. The long-lasting effect and the efficacy of post-exposure treatment indicate a potential broad application for the treatment of synaptopathy, which often goes undetected until well after the original damaging exposure(s).
Katharine A. Fernandez, Takahisa Watabe, Mingjie Tong, Xiankai Meng, Kohsuke Tani, Sharon G. Kujawa, Albert S.B. Edge
The pathophysiology underlying spiral ganglion cell defect–induced deafness remains elusive. Using the whole exome sequencing approach, in combination with functional assays and a mouse disease model, we identified the potentially novel deafness-causative MAP1B gene encoding a highly conserved microtubule-associated protein. Three novel heterozygous MAP1B mutations (c.4198A>G, p.1400S>G; c.2768T>C, p.923I>T; c.5512T>C, p.1838F>L) were cosegregated with autosomal dominant inheritance of nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing loss in 3 unrelated Chinese families. Here, we show that MAP1B is highly expressed in the spiral ganglion neurons in the mouse cochlea. Using otic sensory neuron–like cells, generated by pluripotent stem cells from patients carrying the MAP1B mutation and control subject, we demonstrated that the p.1400S>G mutation caused the reduced levels and deficient phosphorylation of MAP1B, which are involved in the microtubule stability and dynamics. Strikingly, otic sensory neuron–like cells exhibited disturbed dynamics of microtubules, axonal elongation, and defects in electrophysiological properties. Dysfunctions of these derived otic sensory neuron–like cells were rescued by genetically correcting MAP1B mutation using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Involvement of MAP1B in hearing was confirmed by audiometric evaluation of Map1b heterozygous KO mice. These mutant mice displayed late-onset progressive sensorineural hearing loss that was more pronounced in the high frequencies. The spiral ganglion neurons isolated from Map1b mutant mice exhibited the deficient phosphorylation and disturbed dynamics of microtubules. Map1b deficiency yielded defects in the morphology and electrophysiology of spiral ganglion neurons, but it did not affect the morphologies of cochlea in mice. Therefore, our data demonstrate that dysfunctions of spiral ganglion neurons induced by MAP1B deficiency caused hearing loss.
Limei Cui, Jing Zheng, Qiong Zhao, Jia-Rong Chen, Hanqing Liu, Guanghua Peng, Yue Wu, Chao Chen, Qiufen He, Haosong Shi, Shankai Yin, Rick A. Friedman, Ye Chen, Min-Xin Guan
Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a key proinflammatory cytokine involved in the progression of many autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED). IL-1β inhibition has been shown to result in clinical hearing improvement in a small cohort of corticosteroid-resistant patients with AIED. Canonical processing of pro–IL-1β by caspase-1 generates an active 17-kDa fragment, capable of instigating a proinflammatory microenvironment. However, in response to LPS, PBMCs from patients with AIED uniquely express a 28-kDa IL-1β fragment, as compared with PBMCs from control subjects. We synthesized and compared the biologic activity of the 28-kDa fragment to the 17-kDa IL-1β product and the pro–IL-1 31-kDa protein. The 28-kDa IL-1β fragment induces IL-6, TNF-α, and CCL3 in PBMCs. Uniquely, only caspase-7 treatment showed a dose- and time-dependent increase in 28-kDa band generation. Mass spectrometry confirmed the putative caspase-7 cleavage site of pro–IL-1β, which was used to generate the 28-kDa fragment used for PBMC stimulation studies. Collectively, these results provide insight into the function of a poorly understood, processed 28-kDa form of IL-1β in patients with AIED that is uniquely generated by caspase-7 and is capable of activating further downstream proinflammatory cytokines. Further investigation may provide novel pharmacologic targets for the treatment of this rare disease.
Shresh Pathak, Andrea Vambutas
Ultrasound-induced microbubble (USMB) cavitation is widely used to promote drug delivery. Our previous study investigated USMB targeting round window membrane by applying the ultrasound transducer to tympanic bulla. In the present study we further extended the use of this technology to enhance drug delivery to inner ear by introducing the ultrasound transducer into external auditory canal (EAC) or applying it to skull. Using a three-dimensional-printed diffusion apparatus mimicking the pathway for ultrasound passing through and reaching middle ear cavity in vitro, both models simulating the transcanal and transcranial approach demonstrated 4.8-fold and 3.7-fold higher delivery efficiencies, respectively. In vivo model of guinea pigs, by filling tympanic bulla with microbubbles and biotin-fluorescein (biotin-FITC), USMB applied transcanally and transcranially induced 2.8-fold and 1.5-fold increases in biotin-FITC delivery efficiencies, respectively. In addition, the gentamicin uptake by cochlear and vestibular hair cells and gentamicin-induced hair cell loss were significantly enhanced following transcanal application of USMB. On the 28th day after transcanal USMB, safety assessment showed no significant changes in the hearing thresholds and the integrity of cochlea. These are the first results to demonstrate the feasibility and support the potential clinical application of applying USMB via EAC to facilitate drug delivery into inner ear.
Ai-Ho Liao, Chih-Hung Wang, Ping-Yu Weng, Yi-Chun Lin, Hao Wang, Hang-Kang Chen, Hao-Li Liu, Ho-Chiao Chuang, Cheng-Ping Shih
BACKGROUND Bilateral loss of vestibular (inner ear inertial) sensation causes chronically blurred vision during head movement, postural instability, and increased fall risk. Individuals who fail to compensate despite rehabilitation therapy have no adequate treatment options. Analogous to hearing restoration via cochlear implants, prosthetic electrical stimulation of vestibular nerve branches to encode head motion has garnered interest as a potential treatment, but prior studies in humans have not included continuous long-term stimulation or 3D binocular vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) oculography, without which one cannot determine whether an implant selectively stimulates the implanted ear’s 3 semicircular canals.METHODS We report binocular 3D VOR responses of 4 human subjects with ototoxic bilateral vestibular loss unilaterally implanted with a Labyrinth Devices Multichannel Vestibular Implant System vestibular implant, which provides continuous, long-term, motion-modulated prosthetic stimulation via electrodes in 3 semicircular canals.RESULTS Initiation of prosthetic stimulation evoked nystagmus that decayed within 30 minutes. Stimulation targeting 1 canal produced 3D VOR responses approximately aligned with that canal’s anatomic axis. Targeting multiple canals yielded responses aligned with a vector sum of individual responses. Over 350–812 days of continuous 24 h/d use, modulated electrical stimulation produced stable VOR responses that grew with stimulus intensity and aligned approximately with any specified 3D head rotation axis.CONCLUSION These results demonstrate that a vestibular implant can selectively, continuously, and chronically provide artificial sensory input to all 3 implanted semicircular canals in individuals disabled by bilateral vestibular loss, driving reflexive VOR eye movements that approximately align in 3D with the head motion axis encoded by the implant.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02725463.FUNDING NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: R01DC013536 and 2T32DC000023; Labyrinth Devices, LLC; and Med-El GmbH.
Peter J. Boutros, Desi P. Schoo, Mehdi Rahman, Nicolas S. Valentin, Margaret R. Chow, Andrianna I. Ayiotis, Brian J. Morris, Andreas Hofner, Aitor Morillo Rascon, Andreas Marx, Ross Deas, Gene Y. Fridman, Natan S. Davidovics, Bryan K. Ward, Carolina Treviño, Stephen P. Bowditch, Dale C. Roberts, Kelly E. Lane, Yoav Gimmon, Michael C. Schubert, John P. Carey, Andreas Jaeger, Charles C. Della Santina
Although human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a known cause of sensorineural hearing loss in infants with congenital HCMV (cCMV) infections, mechanisms that contribute to sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in infants with cCMV infection are not well defined. Using a murine model of CMV infection during auditory development, we have shown that peripheral infection of newborn mice with murine CMV (MCMV) results in focal infection of the cochlea and virus-induced cochlear inflammation. Approximately 50%–60% of infected mice exhibited increased auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds across a range of sound frequencies. Histological analyses of the cochlea in MCMV-infected mice with elevated ABR thresholds revealed preservation of hair cell (HC) number and morphology in the organ of Corti. In contrast, the number of spiral ganglion neurons (SGN), synapses, and neurites connecting the cochlear HC and SGN nerve terminals were decreased. Decreasing cochlear inflammation by corticosteroid treatment of MCMV-infected mice resulted in preservation of SGN and improved auditory function. These findings show that virus-induced cochlear inflammation during early auditory development, rather than direct virus-mediated damage, could contribute to histopathology in the cochlea and altered auditory function without significant loss of HCs in the sensory epithelium.
Cathy Yea Won Sung, Maria C. Seleme, Shelby Payne, Stipan Jonjic, Keiko Hirose, William Britt
Otits media (OM) is the most frequent indication for antimicrobial prescription to US children. Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) remains one of the most common pathogens causing OM. Successful eradication of S. pneumoniae in the middle ear can be achieved by adhering to a 7–10 day regimen of oral antibiotics. However, oral drug administration is challenging for parents. Lack of adherence has been associated with treatment failure or early relapse. To overcome this challenge, we used a noninvasive formulation to achieve high transtympanic antibiotic flux and cured S. pneumoniae OM in chinchillas. The formulation consists of a thermosensitive in situ gelling hydrogel, chemical permeation enhancers, and an antibiotic. The direct transport of drugs into the middle ear produced high concentrations of ciprofloxacin (in the range of hundreds of micrograms per milliliter) within the first 24 hours of administration. Drug concentrations above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for S. pneumoniae were sustained throughout the 7-day treatment. S. pneumoniae OM in a chinchilla model was successfully eradicated, without causing tissue toxicity. Transtympanic delivery minimized systemic drug exposure, as evidenced by undetectable levels in blood, measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.
Rong Yang, Vishakha Sabharwal, Nadya Shlykova, Obiajulu S. Okonkwo, Stephen I. Pelton, Daniel S. Kohane
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