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Hear Res. 2000 Apr;142(1-2):56-62.

Neither endocochlear potential nor tegmentum vasculosum are affected in hearing impaired belgian waterslager canaries.

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  • 1ENT-Department, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93042, Regensburg, Germany.


We previously showed that the Belgian Waterslager canary strain is affected by a hereditary hearing loss that is associated with a reduced number of hair cells and hair cell pathologies in the basilar papilla. Since hair cell pathologies were also present in the sacculus, Weisleder et al. (1994) suggested that these birds are afflicted by Scheibe's like dysplasia, a cochleo-saccular defect. In mammals, cochleo-saccular defects are characterized primarily by the lack of an endocochlear potential and abnormalities in the Stria vascularis which only secondarily lead to hair cell loss (Steel and Bock, 1983; Steel, 1994; 1995). Here we report the endocochlear potential of six ears from three non-Belgian Waterslager canaries and three ears of two Belgian Waterslager canaries to decide if Waterslager canaries are affected by a cochleo-saccular or by a neuroepithelial defect. The mean endocochlear potential was 17.6+/-2. 5 mV in the non-Waterslager canaries and 20.3+/-0.6 mV in Waterslager canaries. In addition, and consistent with the presence of a normal endocochlear potential, light microscopy of the tegmentum vasculosum provided no evidence for pathology. These data show that Belgian Waterslager canaries are affected by a neuroepithelial rather than a cochleo-saccular inner ear defect.

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