Quantitative assessment of cochlear and vestibular ganglion neurons in temporal bones with chronic otitis media



In this study, we aimed to determine whether or not COM leads to loss of spiral and Scarpa ganglion neurons.


From the human temporal bone (HTB) collection at the University of Minnesota we selected human temporal bones with COM, defined as the presence of clinically intractable tissue abnormalities in the middle ear (cholesteatoma, perforation of the eardrum, granulation tissue, fibrosis, tympanosclerosis, and cholesterol granuloma). We also selected HTBs from donors with no ear diseases as controls. We quantitatively analyzed the number of spiral and Scarpa ganglion cells and compared the results obtained in the control and study groups.


In both COM and control groups we observed a significant negative correlation between age and number of both spiral (R = -0.632; P < 0.001; 95% CI − 0.766 to − 0.434) and Scarpa ganglion (R = − 0.404; P = 0.008; 95% CI − 0.636 to − 0.051) cells. We did not find any significant differences in the number of spiral ganglion cells (in total or per segment) or in the density of Scarpa ganglion cells (in each vestibular nerve or both) in the COM group as compared with controls (P > 0.05).

Conclusions and relevance

Our results did not demonstrate significant loss of cochlear or vestibular peripheral ganglion neuron loss in HTBs with COM as compared with controls.

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We thank our supporters: the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES—Brazil) (Finance code: 001), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the NIH (Grant No. UG3NS107688), the International Hearing Foundation, the 5 M Lions International, and the Starkey Foundation.


RCM received a scholarship from the “Coordenação de aperfeiçoamento pessoal de nível superior” (CAPES) (Finance code: 001). The research reported in this manuscript was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the NIH (UG3NS107688), the International Hearing Foundation, the 5 M Lions International, and the Starkey Foundation.

Author information




All authors performed similar contributions and were involved in all steps of the manuscript production. RCM, NOP and MU performed the literature review, analyzed the human temporal bones and wrote the final version of the manuscript. PS, MMP, and SC were the intellectual authors of the work, supervised the collection of data, analyzed the results and critically reviewed the final version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rafael da Costa Monsanto.

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The Institutional Review Board of the University of Minnesota (0206M26181) and Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina (UNIFESP/EPM) (1.751.916) approved this study.

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Monsanto, R.C., Penido, N.O., Uchiyama, M. et al. Quantitative assessment of cochlear and vestibular ganglion neurons in temporal bones with chronic otitis media. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 278, 331–338 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-020-06094-5

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  • Otitis media
  • Chronic otitis media
  • Spiral ganglion cells
  • Scarpa ganglion cells
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Vestibular diseases