Steroid treatment in young MRL.MpJ-Fas(lpr) autoimmune mice prevents cochlear dysfunction

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Corticosteroid therapy reverses clinical autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss, although little is known of how steroids restore normal auditory function. If suppression of systemic autoimmune processes underlies hearing restoration, then preventing autoimmune symptoms from developing should prevent cochlear dysfunction. MRL.MpJ-Fas(lpr) autoimmune mice were used to test this potential mechanism by initiating oral prednisolone treatment at 6 weeks of age, prior to autoimmune disease and hearing loss onset. The steroid treatment group was given prednisolone in their drinking water, while untreated controls were given tap water. Treatment continued for 7 months with periodic evaluations of cochlear function with auditory brainstem response (ABR) audiometry. Autoimmune mice given the steroid lived longer and did not develop levels of serum immune complexes seen in their untreated controls. Also, their ABR thresholds remained near normal throughout the 7 months of treatment, while untreated controls showed progressive threshold elevations typical for autoimmune disease. This correlation of suppressed systemic autoimmune activity and maintenance of normal cochlear function identifies one potential mechanism for autoimmune hearing loss and hearing restoration with steroid therapy. The autoimmune mouse should serve as a valuable model for future studies of the cochlear mechanisms responsive to steroid treatment in autoimmune hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-173
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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