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Auditory brain-stem response in zitter rats with genetic spongiform encephalopathy.

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Laboratory Animal Research Center, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Zitter rats with genetic spongiform encephalopathy and hypomyelination developed an abnormal auditory brain-stem response (ABR) before the appearance of spongy lesions in the central nervous system (CNS). The ABR abnormalities were characterized by a dual peak of wave I, with a longer latency than in normal rats, and decreased or absent waves III and IV. Hypomyelination in both peripheral and central nerves may have been responsible for these abnormalities. The slow negative wave became wide and obscure with aging. These changes accompanied age-dependent progression of spongy changes in the CNS. These findings suggest that at least two mechanisms, one involving hypomyelination and the other causing spongy lesions, are responsible for the brain-stem auditory pathway dysfunction in zitter rats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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