Effects of prolonged exposure to an augmented acoustic environment on the auditory system of middle-aged C57BL/6J mice: cochlear and central histology and sex differences.

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Aging, Analysis-of-Variance, Auditory-Threshold, Cell-Count, Cell-Survival, Cochlear-Nucleus, Comparative-Study, Disease-Models-Animal, Dose-Response-Relationship-Radiation, Hair-Cells, Hearing-Loss-Sensorineural, Mice-Inbred-BALB-C, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Neural-Inhibition, Sex-Characteristics, Species-Specificity, Spiral-Ganglion, Time-Factors

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J Comp Neurol 2004 May; 472(3):358-70.


Genetic progressive sensorineural hearing loss in mice of the C57BL/6J (B6) inbred strain begins at high frequencies during young adulthood and is severe by 12 months (middle age). Nightly treatment with an augmented acoustic environment (AAE)--12-hour periods of exposure to repetitive noise bursts of moderate intensity, begun at age 25 days--resulted in less severe hearing loss compared with control mice. Cochlear histopathological correlates of AAE treatment, assessed at 12-14 months of age, included lessened severity of progressive loss of outer hair cells in both sexes as well as small savings of spiral ganglion cells in females and inner hair cells in males. AAE effects on the number of surviving neurons (age 12-14 months) in the anterior ventral cochlear nucleus (AVCN) depended on sex. Compared with controls, the loss of AVCN neurons that typically accompanies the initial period of hearing loss (between 2 and 7 months of age) was not significantly affected by AAE treatment in females. In contrast, males treated with the AAE exhibited more severe loss of neurons in the dorsal and ventral extremes of the AVCN than male controls of the same age. AAE treatment begun at age 3-5 months resulted in significant but less severe loss of AVCN neurons in 1-year-old male mice.