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Noise Health. 2018 Nov-Dec;20(97):223-231. doi: 10.4103/nah.NAH_30_18.

Apoptosis in the cochlear nucleus and inferior colliculus upon repeated noise exposure.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Unfallkrankenhaus, Charité Medical School, Berlin, Germany.


The time course of apoptosis and the corresponding neuronal loss was previously shown in central auditory pathway of mice after a single noise exposure. However, repeated acoustic exposure is a major risk factor for noise-induced hearing loss. The present study investigated apoptosis by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay after a second noise trauma in the ventral and dorsal cochlear nucleus and central nucleus of the inferior colliculus. Mice [Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) strain] were noise exposed [115 dB sound pressure level, 5-20 kHz, 3 h) at day 0. A double group received the identical noise exposure a second time at day 7 post-exposure and apoptosis was either analyzed immediately (7-day group-double) or 1 week later (14-day group-double). Corresponding single exposure groups were chosen as controls. No differences in TUNEL were seen between 7-day or 14-day single and double-trauma groups. Interestingly, independent of the second noise exposure, apoptosis increased significantly in the 14-day groups compared to the 7-day groups in all investigated areas. It seems that the first noise trauma has a long-lasting effect on apoptotic mechanisms in the central auditory pathway that were not largely influenced by a second trauma. Homeostatic mechanisms induced by the first trauma might protect the central auditory pathway from further damage during a specific time slot. These results might help to understand the underlying mechanisms of different psychoacoustic phenomena in noise-induced hearing loss.


Noise-induced apoptosis; TUNEL-staining; noise-induced hearing loss; repeated noise exposure

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