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Hear Res. 2004 Aug;194(1-2):135-42.

Isoflurane increases amplitude and incidence of evoked and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions.

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Department Biologie II der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Luisenstr. 14, D-80333, München, Germany.


The volatile anesthetic isoflurane was tested for its effect on cochlear function by means of measuring distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAE) in the mustached bat (Pteronotus parnellii parnellii). Averaged growth functions of DPOAE and spontaneous otoacoustic emissions were assessed and compared between the control group (no isoflurane application) and the isoflurane group (application of isoflurane at vaporizer settings sof about 1.5-2%). Isoflurane significantly increases the DPOAE amplitude, e.g. at a primary tone level l2 of 40 dB SPL by 10.7 dB. Additionally, the incidence of SOAEs was highly increased during application of isoflurane. The sound-evoked efferent effect on the generation of otoacoustic emissions was significantly reduced in the isoflurane group. We suggest that isoflurane might affect the postsynaptic action of acetylcholine (ACh) released by the efferent terminals of outer hair cells (OHCs). This could lead to the observed decrease of efferent suppression and to a disinhibition of cochlear amplification.

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