A comparison of vestibular and auditory phenotypes in inbred mouse strains.

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Animals, Auditory-Threshold, Comparative-Study, Evoked-Potentials-Auditory-Brain-Stem, Female, Male, Mice-Inbred-Strains, Phenotype, Reaction-Time

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Brain Res 2006 May; 1091(1):40-6.


The purposes of this research were to quantify gravity receptor function in inbred mouse strains and compare vestibular and auditory function for strain- and age-matched animals. Vestibular evoked potentials (VsEPs) were collected for 19 inbred strains at ages from 35 to 389 days old. On average, C57BL/6J (35 to 190 days), BALB/cByJ, C3H/HeSnJ, CBA/J, and young LP/J mice had VsEP thresholds comparable to normal. Elevated VsEP thresholds were found for elderly C57BL/6J, NOD.NONH2(kb), BUB/BnJ, A/J, DBA/2J, NOD/LtJ, A/WySnJ, MRL/MpJ, A/HeJ, CAST/Ei, SJL/J, elderly LP/J, and CE/J. These results suggest that otolithic function varies among inbred strains and several strains displayed gravity receptor deficits by 90 days old. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds were compared to VsEP thresholds for 14 age-matched strains. C57BL/6J mice (up to 190 days) showed normal VsEPs with normal to mildly elevated ABR thresholds. Four strains (BUB/BnJ, NOD/LtJ, A/J, elderly LP/J) had significant hearing loss and elevated VsEP thresholds. Four strains (DBA/2J, A/WySnJ, NOD.NONH2(kb), A/HeJ) had elevated VsEP thresholds (including absent VsEPs) with mild to moderate elevations in ABR thresholds. Three strains (MRL/MpJ, Ce/J, SJL/J) had significant vestibular loss with no concomitant hearing loss. These results suggest that functional change in one sensory system does not obligate change in the other. We hypothesize that genes responsible for early onset hearing loss may affect otolithic function, yet the time course of functional change may vary. In addition, some genetic mutations may produce primarily gravity receptor deficits. Potential genes responsible for selective gravity receptor impairment demonstrated herein remain to be identified.