Upregulated iNOS and oxidative damage to the cochlear stria vascularis due to noise stress

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89 Scopus citations


Our previous work has revealed increased nitric oxide (NO) production in the cochlear perilymph following noise stress. However, it is not clear if the increase of NO is related to iNOS and whether NO-related oxidative stress can cause vascular tissue damage. In this study, iNOS immunoreactivity, NO production, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the lateral wall were examined in normal mice and compared with similar animals exposed to 120 dBA broadband noise, 3 h/day, for 2 consecutive days. In the normal animals, iNOS expression was not observed in the vascular endothelium of the stria vascularis and only weak iNOS immunoactivity was detected in the marginal cells. However, expression of iNOS in the wall of the blood vessels of stria vascularis and marginal cells was observed after loud sound stress (LSS). Relatively low levels of NO production and low ROS activity were detected in the stria vascularis in the unstimulated condition. In contrast, NO production was increased and ROS activity was elevated in the stria vascularis after LSS. These changes were attenuated by the iNOS inhibitor, GW 274150. To explore whether noise induces apoptotic processes in the stria vascularis, we examined morphological changes in endothelial- and marginal-cells. In vitro, annexin-V phosphatidylserine (PS) (to label and detect early evidence of apoptosis) was combined with propidium iodide (PI) (to probe plasma membrane integrity). PI alone was used in fixed tissues to detect later stage apoptotic cells by morphology of the nuclei. Following LSS, PS was expressed on cell surfaces of endothelial cells of blood vessels and marginal cells of the stria vascularis. Later stage apoptosis, characterized by irregular nuclei and condensation of nuclei, was also observed in these cells. The data indicate that increased iNOS expression and production of both NO and ROS following noise stress may lead to marginal cell pathology, and the dysfunction of cochlear microcirculation by inducing blood vessel wall damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 28 2003


  • Annexin-V
  • Apoptosis
  • Dihydrorhodamine 123
  • Mouse
  • Necrosis
  • Nitric oxide
  • Noise exposure
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Propidium iodide
  • Stria vascularis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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