Age-related hearing loss and the ahl locus in mice.

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Hear Res 2004 Feb; 188(1-2):21-8.


C57BL/6 (B6) mice experience hearing loss and cochlear degeneration beginning about mid-life, whereas CAST/Ei (CAST) mice retain normal hearing until old age. A locus contributing to the hearing loss of B6 mice, named age-related hearing loss (ahl), was mapped to Chromosome 10. A homozygous, congenic strain of mice (B6.CAST-+ahl ), generated by crossing B6 (ahl/ahl) and CAST (+ahl/+ahl) mice has the same genomic material as the B6 mice except in the region of the ahl locus, which is derived from CAST. In this study, we have determined the extent of the CAST-derived region of Chromosome 10 in the congenic strain and have examined mice of all three strains for hearing loss and cochlear morphology between 9 and 25 months of age. Results for B6 mice were similar to those described previously. CAST mice showed no detectable hearing loss even at 24 months of age; however, they had a small amount of ganglion cell degeneration. B6.CAST-+ahl mice were protected from early onset hearing loss and basal turn degeneration, but older animals did show some hearing loss and ganglion cell degeneration. We conclude that loci in addition to ahl contribute to the differences in hearing loss between B6 and CAST mice. These results illustrate the complex inheritance of age-related hearing loss in mice and may have implications for the study of human presbycusis.