Cochlear cytokine gene expression in murine acute otitis media

Bobak A. Ghaheri, J. Beth Kempton, De Ann M. Pillers, Dennis R. Trune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Recurrent acute otitis media (AOM) causes sensorineural hearing loss by unknown mechanisms. It is widely accepted that inflammatory cytokines diffuse across the round window membrane to exert cytotoxic effects. This study addresses whether inner ear cells are capable of expressing genes for inflammatory cytokines. STUDY DESIGN: The authors conducted a prospective animal study. METHODS: BALB/C mice underwent transtympanic injection of heat-killed Haemophilus influenzae to create an acute inflammatory response. These mice were compared with a control group in addition to a group of uninjected mice found to have otomicroscopic changes consistent with persistent or chronic otitis media. The cochleas of these mice were obtained, their RNA harvested, and cytokine gene expression analyzed using prefabricated cDNA arrays. RESULTS: Four groups of mice (control, 3-day postinjection, 7-day postinjection, and mice with chronic otitis media) with five mice in each group were analyzed. Numerous classes of genes were found to be upregulated or downregulated by more than twofold. Some genes differed from control mice by more than 10-fold. These genes included numerous fibroblast growth factors, interleukins, tumor necrosis factors, and colony-stimulating factors. CONCLUSION: The genes of numerous inflammatory cytokines are either up- or downregulated by murine inner ear cells in response to either acute or chronic inflammation of the middle ear. This study provides a novel site of production of cytokines that may be responsible for the damage seen in sensorineural hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Gene array
  • Otitis media
  • Sensorineural hearing loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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