Hearing loss is a frequent finding in intensive care patients due to several causes. However, sepsis has not been examined as a possible cause. The aim of the study is to assess the influence of experimental sepsis on hearing thresholds and to evaluate pathologic changes in the cochlea. Eighteen sepsis mice, 13 sham and 13 control animals were included into the study using cecal ligation puncture technique. Prior to the induction of sepsis and at the peak of the disease the hearing thresholds of the animals were evaluated with auditory evoked brainstem responses. Immediately after the second measurement the mice were sacrificed, the inner ears harvested and prepared for further evaluation. The cochleae were examined with light microscopy, electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry for Bax, cleaved Caspase 3 and Bcl 2. The sepsis mice showed a significant hearing loss but not the control groups. Induction of apoptosis could be shown in the supporting cells of the organ of Corti. Furthermore, excitotoxicity could be shown at the basal pole of the inner hair cells. In this murine model sepsis leads to significant hearing impairment. The physiologic alteration could be linked to apoptosis in the supporting cells of the organ of Corti and to a disturbance of the inner hair cells synapses.
- Received October 22, 2012.
- Accepted February 11, 2013.
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