2019 Volume 42 Issue 1 Pages 73-80
It is well-known that outer hair cell (OHC) loss occurs in the cochlea of animal models of permanent hearing loss induced by intense noise exposure. Our earlier studies demonstrated the production of hydroxynonenal and peroxynitrite, as well as the disruption of gap junction-mediated intercellular communication (GJIC), in the cochlear spiral ligament prior to noise-induced sudden hearing loss. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the mechanism underlying cochlear OHC loss after sudden hearing loss induced by intense noise exposure. In organ of Corti explant cultures from mice, no significant OHC loss was observed after in vitro exposure to 4-hydroxynonenal (a product of lipid peroxidation), H2O2, SIN-1 (peroxynitrite generator), and carbenoxolone (a gap junction inhibitor). Interestingly, in vivo intracochlear carbenoxolone injection through the posterior semicircular canal caused marked OHC and hearing loss, as well as the disruption of gap junction-mediated intercellular communication in the cochlear spiral ligament. However, no significant OHC loss was observed in vivo in animals treated with 4-hydroxynonenal and SIN-1. Taken together, our data suggest that disruption of GJIC in the cochlear lateral wall structures is an important cause of cochlear OHC loss in models of hearing loss, including those induced by noise.