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Exp Gerontol. 2004 Aug;39(8):1253-8.

Age-dependent modifications of expression level of VEGF and its receptors in the inner ear.

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Institute of Otolaryngology, A. Gemelli University Hospital, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore School of Medicine, Rome, Italy.


The mechanisms responsible for age-associated hearing loss are still incompletely characterized. In this study, we used a murine model of age-dependent hearing loss and evaluated whether this condition is associated with vascular modifications of the structures of the inner ear. We used old C57BL/6J mice that are affected by rapid and severe age-related hearing loss, and analyzed the expression pattern of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a prototypical angiogenic cytokine, and its receptors Flt-1 and Flk-1 in the inner ear. We report for the first time morphological and quantitative data about the expression of these crucial angiogenic molecules in the murine cochlea. We also show that in this animal model, cochlear VEGF expression is significantly reduced as a function of age. Our findings provide new evidence of possible interdependent relationships between aging, VEGF, and presbycusis, suggesting that vascular abnormalities might play a role in aging-associated hearing loss, with potentially important fundamental and clinical implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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