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Neuroscience. 2004;126(3):763-73.

Noise exposure induces up-regulation of ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases 1 and 2 in rat cochlea.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Extracellular ATP acting via P2 receptors in the inner ear initiates a variety of signaling pathways that may be involved in noise-induced cochlear injury. Nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (NTPDase)1/CD39 and NTPDase2/CD39L1 are key elements for regulation of extracellular nucleotide concentrations and P2 receptor signaling in the cochlea. This study characterized the effect of noise exposure on regulation of NTPDase1 and NTPDase2 expression in the cochlea using a combination of real-time RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and functional studies. Adult Wistar rats were exposed to broad band noise at 90 dB and 110 dB sound pressure level (SPL) for 72 h. Exposure to 90 dB SPL induced a small and temporary change of auditory thresholds (temporary threshold shift), while exposure to 110 dB SPL induced a robust and permanent change of auditory thresholds (permanent threshold shift). NTPDase1 and NTPDase2 mRNA transcripts were upregulated in the cochlea exposed to 110 dB SPL, while mild noise (90 dB SPL) altered only NTPDase1 mRNA expression levels. Changes in NTPDases expression did not correlate with levels of circulating corticosterone, implying that the up-regulation of NTPDases expression was not stress-related. Semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry in the cochlea exposed to 110 dB SPL localized the increased NTPDase1 and NTPDase2 immunostaining in the stria vascularis and up-regulation of NTPDase2 in the intraganglionic spiral bundle. In contrast, NTPDase1 was down-regulated in the cell bodies of the spiral ganglion neurones. Distribution of NTPDases was not altered in the cochlea exposed to 90 dB SPL. Functional studies revealed increased ectonucleotidase activities in the cochlea after exposure to 110 dB SPL, consistent with up-regulation of NTPDases. The changes in NTPDases expression may reflect adaptive response of cochlear tissues to limit ATP signaling during noise exposure.

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