Thyroid Sensitive periods and DPOAEs

Thyroid Sensitive periods and DPOAEs
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Marlies Knipper Ph.D. (Germany, 2001)
09 January 2014

Level: Advanced

Number of Slides: 32


Both, a genetic or acquired neonatal thyroid hormone (TH) deficiency may result in a profound mental disability that is often accompanied by deafness. The existence of various TH-sensitive periods during inner ear development and general success of delayed, corrective TH-treatment was investigated by treating pregnant and lactating rats with the goitrogen methimazole (MMI). We observed that for development of normal hearing thyroid hormone is only required within a crucial time between the onset of fetal thyroid gland function and the onset of hearing at P12. Within this time, however, any postponement in the rise of TH-plasma levels, as can be brought about by treating lactating mothers with MMI, leads to permanent hearing defects of the adult offspring. The severity of hearing defects that were measured in 3- to 9-month-old offspring could be increased with each additional day of TH-deficiency during this critical period. Unexpectedly, the active cochlear process, assayed by DPOAE measurements, and speed of auditory brainstem responses, which both until now were not thought to be controlled by TH, proved to be TH-dependent processes that were damaged by a delay of TH-supply within this critical time. In contrast, no significant differences in the gross morphology and innervation of the organ of Corti or myelin gene expression in the auditory system, detected as MPB and PLP mRNA using Northern blot approach, were observed when TH-supply was delayed for few days. These classical TH-dependent processes, however, were damaged when TH-supply was delayed for several weeks. These surprising results may suggest the existence of different TH-dependent processes in the auditory system: those which respond to corrective TH supply (e.g. innervation and morphogenesis of the organ of Corti) and those which do not, but require T3-activity during a very tight time window (e.g. active cochlear process, central processes). 

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