Effects of exposing DBA/2J mice to a high-frequency augmented acoustic environment on the cochlea and anteroventral cochlear nucleus.

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Hear Res 2006 Jun-Jul;216-217:138-45.


DBA/2J (D2) mice, which exhibit very early progressive sensorineural hearing loss, were treated for 12h nightly with an augmented acoustic environment (AAE) initiated before the onset of hearing. The AAE consisted of repetitive bursts of a 70 dB sound pressure level, half-octave noise band centered at 20 kHz (i.e. low frequencies were excluded). At 55 days of age, AAE-treated mice, compared to control mice, exhibited less elevation of auditory brainstem response thresholds for tone frequencies from 16 to 32 kHz and fewer missing outer hair cells in the high-frequency tonotopic region of the cochlea. The dorsal region of their anteroventral cochlear nucleus (most strongly stimulated by the AAE) was larger, had more surviving neurons, and larger neurons than those of untreated control mice. These and previous findings using an AAE band containing lower frequencies indicate that AAE treatment effects are frequency-related. The findings provide support for the hypothesis that the beneficial effects of AAE treatment on the cochlea are associated with increased physiological activity evoked by the AAE, and the central AAE effects result from increased AAE-evoked neural activity and a healthier cochlea providing the auditory input.