Steroid treatment improves cochlear function in the MRL.MpJ-Fas(lpr) autoimmune mouse

Dennis R. Trune, Roger J. Wobig, J. Beth Kempton, Steven H. Hefeneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Corticosteroid therapy is used to reverse autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss, although little is known of the mechanism by which this occurs. This has been due to the lack of a suitable animal model with spontaneous hearing loss that is steroid responsive. The present study examined the effects of prednisolone treatment on auditory thresholds in the MRL.MpJ- Fas(lpr) autoimmune mouse to determine its suitability as such a model. Autoimmune mice at 3.5-4.5 months of age were evaluated by pure-tone auditory brainstem response (ABR) to establish threshold elevations due to the disease. The steroid treatment group was then given prednisolone in their drinking water for 2.5 months, while untreated controls were given tap water. Significantly more steroid treated mice survived to the time of post- treatment ABR evaluation. Half of the steroid treated ears demonstrated either improvement or no change in cochlear function compared to only 25% in the untreated controls. Overall, cochlear thresholds in the untreated controls increased by 14.7 dB, whereas no significant threshold increase was seen in the steroid treated group (4.3 dB) over the treatment period. No qualitative anatomical differences were seen in the ears of those mice surviving to the end of the study. These findings establish the autoimmune mouse as a model for studies of steroid responsive mechanisms within the ear. This could apply to autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss, as well as any hearing disorder for which steroid therapy is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autoimmune mouse
  • Fas gene
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Inner ear
  • Prednisolone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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