Failure of elevated heat shock protein 70 antibodies to alter cochlear function in mice

Dennis R. Trune, J. Beth Kempton, Curtin R. Mitchell, Steven H. Hefeneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) has been suggested as the putative cochlear antigen underlying a proposed autoimmune etiology in certain cases of Meniere's disease and idiopathic hearing loss. To determine if antibodies to this cellular protein are capable of altering cochlear function, BALB/c (N = 3) and CBA/J (N = 9) mice were inoculated with bovine HSP70 by intraperitoneal injections (10 μg in saline) every 10 days for 7 or 10 months, respectively. An equal number of control mice were injected with PBS according to the same schedule. ABR thresholds at 4, 8, 16, and 32 kHz in the HSP70-inoculated mice did not change over the 10 month period and were similar to saline controls. Furthermore, serum immune complexes and antinuclear antibodies did not increase over the inoculation period. ELISA analysis demonstrated the mice created antibodies to the foreign HSP70, but these apparently caused no abnormalities in the auditory or immune systems. It was concluded that foreign HSP70 is antigenic and inoculation with it will raise antibodies, but these antibodies were neither immunopathogenic nor cochleopathic. Therefore, these findings do not support current theories that elevated anti-HSP70 antibodies are the underlying cause of hearing loss in patients with such antibodies present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Antibody
  • Auditory brainstem response
  • CBA/J mouse
  • Heat shock protein 70
  • Inner ear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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