Cochlear Vascular Pathology and Hearing Loss
Normal vascular function is essential for hearing. Abnormal blood flow to the cochlea is an etiologic factor contributing to various hearing disorders and vestibular dysfunctions, including noise-induced hearing loss, sudden deafness, presbyacusis, genetically-linked hearing loss, and endolymphatic hydrops such as Meniere’s disease. Progression in blood flow pathology can parallel progression in hair cell loss and hearing impairment. To sustain hearing acuity, a healthy blood flow must be maintained. The blood supply not only provides oxygen and glucose to the hearing organ, it is also responsible for transporting hormones and neurotrophic growth factors to the tissue critical for organ health. Study of the vascular system in the inner ear has a long and rich history. There is a large body of evidence demonstrating a relationship between disturbances in cochlear microcirculatory homeostasis and decreased auditory sensitivity. This chapter focuses on recent discoveries relating the physiopathology of the microvasculature in the cochlear lateral wall to hearing function.
KeywordsCochlear blood flow Aging Noise Ototoxic drug Hearing loss
Most of the data presented in this review reflects the efforts of my colleagues and students at the Oregon Hearing Research Center. In particular, the author is deeply indebted to Dr. Alfred Nuttall for stimulating discussion and advice. The author also thanks Mr. Allan Kachelmeier and Ms Janice Moore for editorial assistance, and Christine Casabar for assistance with the references.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R03 DC008888, DC008888S1, R01 DC010844 (X. Shi), R21 DC1239801 (X. Shi.); P30-DC005983 (Peter Barr-Gillespie); R01 DC000105 (Alfred L. Nuttall); R21 DC016157 (X. Shi.) and R01 DC015781 (X. Shi).
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