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Publication Detail
Development of a mouse model of cochlear implantation
Introduction: Despite the ongoing developments in cochlear implantation (CI) surgery and improvements in hearing preservation, the benefits gained have been overshadowed by the fact that a proportion of patients have lost part or all of their residual hearing in the implanted ear. The underlying cause of this loss remains unclear and prompts questions regarding the biological effects of CI on cochlear structure and function. Animal models are the only means of assessing the effects of CI at a cellular and molecular level. The range of naturally occurring and genetically-modified mice which mimic human deafness provide excellent opportunities for auditory research. To date, there are very few studies of CI in mice. The main aims were to develop a reproducible and viable technique of mouse CI and assess the response of the mouse cochlea to implantation. Methods: CI via the round window was performed in C57BL/6J mice. Two age groups were chosen to examine the effects of implantation in the early and later stages of hearing loss, and to examine for any implantation-accelerated hearing loss. The contralateral cochlea acted as a control. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) audiometry prior to and at time-points following CI was undertaken. Following sacrifice, cochleae were harvested and prepared for histological examination. Results: ABR analysis showed greater threshold shifts in the implanted ear compared to the control ear post-implantation, but substantial preservation of hearing, especially at the low frequencies. Cone beam computed tomography and light microscopy confirmed correct placement of the electrode array within the scala tympani. Histological analysis showed an inflammatory response and encapsulation of the implant in tissue with features suggesting the presence of fibrosis. Conclusion: The results demonstrate that mouse CI via the round window is feasible and provides a means for exploring the interface between the biological and technological aspects of CI.
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