RNA-seq analysis of gene expression profiles in isolated stria vascularis from wild-type and Alport mice reveals key pathways underling Alport strial pathogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Previous work demonstrates that the hearing loss in Alport mice is caused by defects in the stria vascularis. As the animals age, progressive thickening of strial capillary basement membranes (SCBMs) occurs associated with elevated levels of extracellular matrix expression and hypoxia-related gene and protein expression. These conditions render the animals susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss. In an effort to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how the underlying mutation in the COL4A3 gene influences homeostasis in the stria vascularis, we performed vascular permeability studies combined with RNA-seq analysis using isolated stria vascularis from 7-week old wild-type and Alport mice on the 129 Sv background. Alport SCBMs were found to be less permeable than wild-type littermates. RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis revealed 68 genes were induced and 61 genes suppressed in the stria from Alport mice relative to wild-type using a cut-off of 2-fold. These included pathways involving transcription factors associated with the regulation of pro-inflammatory responses as well as cytokines, chemokines, and chemokine receptors that are up- or down-regulated. Canonical pathways included modulation of genes associated with glucose and glucose-1-PO4 degradation, NAD biosynthesis, histidine degradation, calcium signaling, and glutamate receptor signaling (among others). In all, the data point to the Alport stria being in an inflammatory state with disruption in numerous metabolic pathways indicative of metabolic stress, a likely cause for the susceptibility of Alport mice to noise-induced hearing loss under conditions that do not cause permanent hearing loss in age/strain-matched wild-type mice. The work lays the foundation for studies aimed at understanding the nature of strial pathology in Alport mice. The modulation of these genes under conditions of therapeutic intervention may provide important pre-clinical data to justify trials in humans afflicted with the disease.
Project description:Alport syndrome results from mutations in genes encoding collagen alpha3(IV), alpha4(IV), or alpha5(IV) and is characterized by progressive glomerular disease associated with a high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Earlier studies of a gene knockout mouse model for Alport syndrome noted thickening of strial capillary basement membranes in the cochlea, suggesting that the stria vascularis is the primary site of cochlear pathogenesis. Here we combine a novel cochlear microdissection technique with molecular analyses to illustrate significant quantitative alterations in strial expression of mRNAs encoding matrix metalloproteinases-2, -9, -12, and -14. Gelatin zymography of extracts from the stria vascularis confirmed these findings. Treatment of Alport mice with a small molecule inhibitor of these matrix metalloproteinases exacerbated strial capillary basement membrane thickening, demonstrating that alterations in basement membrane metabolism result in matrix accumulation in the strial capillary basement membranes. This is the first demonstration of true quantitative analysis of specific mRNAs for matrix metalloproteinases in a cochlear microcompartment. Further, these data suggest that the altered basement membrane composition in Alport stria influences the expression of genes involved in basement membrane metabolism.
Project description:Hearing loss of patients with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) can fluctuate or progress, with overall downward progression. The most common detectable cause of EVA is mutations of SLC26A4. We previously described a transgenic Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model of EVA in which Slc26a4 expression is controlled by doxycycline administration. Mice that received doxycycline from conception until embryonic day 17.5 (DE17.5; doxycycline discontinued at embryonic day 17.5) had fluctuating hearing loss between 1 and 6 months of age with an overall downward progression after 6 months of age. In this study, we characterized the cochlear functional and structural changes underlying irreversible hearing loss in DE17.5 mice at 12 months of age. The endocochlear potential was decreased and inversely correlated with auditory brainstem response thresholds. The stria vascularis was thickened and edematous in ears with less severe hearing loss, and thinned and atrophic in ears with more severe hearing loss. There were pathologic changes in marginal cell morphology and gene expression that were not observed at 3 months. We conclude that strial dysfunction and degeneration are the primary causes of irreversible progressive hearing loss in our Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model of EVA. This model of primary strial atrophy may be used to explore the mechanisms of progressive hearing loss due to strial dysfunction.
Project description:The absence of thyroid hormone (TH) during late gestation and early infancy can cause irreparable deafness in both humans and rodents. A variety of rodent models have been used in an effort to identify the underlying molecular mechanism. Here, we characterize a mouse model of secondary hypothyroidism, pituitary transcription factor 1 (Pit1(dw)), which has profound, congenital deafness that is rescued by oral TH replacement. These mutants have tectorial membrane abnormalities, including a prominent Hensen's stripe, elevated beta-tectorin composition, and disrupted striated-sheet matrix. They lack distortion product otoacoustic emissions and cochlear microphonic responses, and exhibit reduced endocochlear potentials, suggesting defects in outer hair cell function and potassium recycling. Auditory system and hair cell physiology, histology, and anatomy studies reveal novel defects of hormone deficiency related to deafness: (1) permanently impaired expression of KCNJ10 in the stria vascularis of Pit1(dw) mice, which likely contributes to the reduced endocochlear potential, (2) significant outer hair cell loss in the mutants, which may result from cellular stress induced by the lower KCNQ4 expression and current levels in Pit1(dw) mutant outer hair cells, and (3) sensory and strial cell deterioration, which may have implications for thyroid hormone dysregulation in age-related hearing impairment. In summary, we suggest that these defects in outer hair cell and strial cell function are important contributors to the hearing impairment in Pit1(dw) mice.
Project description:In the cochlea, mammals maintain a uniquely high endolymphatic potential (EP), which is not observed in other vertebrate groups. However, a high [K(+)] is always present in the inner ear endolymph. Here, we show that Kir4.1, which is required in the mammalian stria vascularis to generate the highly positive EP, is absent in the functionally equivalent avian tegmentum vasculosum. In contrast, the molecular repertoire required for K(+) secretion, specifically NKCC1, KCNQ1, KCNE1, BSND and CLC-K, is shared between the tegmentum vasculosum, the vestibular dark cells and the marginal cells of the stria vascularis. We further show that in barn owls, the tegmentum vasculosum is enlarged and a higher EP (~+34 mV) maintained, compared to other birds. Our data suggest that both the tegmentum vasculosum and the stratified stria vascularis evolved from an ancestral vestibular epithelium that already featured the major cell types of the auditory epithelia. Genetic recruitment of Kir4.1 specifically to strial melanocytes was then a crucial step in mammalian evolution enabling an increase in the cochlear EP. An increased EP may be related to high-frequency hearing, as this is a hallmark of barn owls among birds and mammals among amniotes.
Project description:Exposure to intense sound or high doses of aminoglycoside antibiotics can increase hearing thresholds, induce cochlear dysfunction, disrupt hair cell morphology and promote hair cell death, leading to permanent hearing loss. When the two insults are combined, synergistic ototoxicity occurs, exacerbating cochlear vulnerability to sound exposure. The underlying mechanism of this synergism remains unknown. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that sound exposure enhances the intra-cochlear trafficking of aminoglycosides, such as gentamicin, leading to increased hair cell uptake of aminoglycosides and subsequent ototoxicity.Juvenile C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to moderate or intense sound levels, while fluorescently-conjugated or native gentamicin was administered concurrently or following sound exposure. Drug uptake was then examined in cochlear tissues by confocal microscopy.Prolonged sound exposure that induced temporary threshold shifts increased gentamicin uptake by cochlear hair cells, and increased gentamicin permeation across the strial blood-labyrinth barrier. Enhanced intra-cochlear trafficking and hair cell uptake of gentamicin also occurred when prolonged sound, and subsequent aminoglycoside exposure were temporally separated, confirming previous observations. Acute, concurrent sound exposure did not increase cochlear uptake of aminoglycosides.Prolonged, moderate sound exposures enhanced intra-cochlear aminoglycoside trafficking into the stria vascularis and hair cells. Changes in strial and/or hair cell physiology and integrity due to acoustic overstimulation could increase hair cell uptake of gentamicin, and may represent one mechanism of synergistic ototoxicity.
Project description:Alström Syndrome is a life-threatening disease characterized primarily by numerous metabolic abnormalities, retinal degeneration, cardiomyopathy, kidney and liver disease, and sensorineural hearing loss. The cellular localization of the affected protein, ALMS1, has suggested roles in ciliary function and/or ciliogenesis. We have investigated the role of ALMS1 in the cochlea and the pathogenesis of hearing loss in Alström Syndrome. In neonatal rat organ of Corti, ALMS1 was localized to the basal bodies of hair cells and supporting cells. ALMS1 was also evident at the basal bodies of differentiating fibrocytes and marginal cells in the lateral wall. Centriolar ALMS1 expression was retained into maturity. In Alms1-disrupted mice, which recapitulate the neurosensory deficits of human Alström Syndrome, cochleae displayed several cyto-architectural defects including abnormalities in the shape and orientation of hair cell stereociliary bundles. Developing hair cells were ciliated, suggesting that ciliogenesis was largely normal. In adult mice, in addition to bundle abnormalities, there was an accelerated loss of outer hair cells and the progressive appearance of large lesions in stria vascularis. Although the mice progressively lost distortion product otoacoustic emissions, suggesting defects in outer hair cell amplification, their endocochlear potentials were normal, indicating the strial atrophy did not affect its function. These results identify previously unrecognized cochlear histopathologies associated with this ciliopathy that (i) implicate ALMS1 in planar cell polarity signaling and (ii) suggest that the loss of outer hair cells causes the majority of the hearing loss in Alström Syndrome.
Project description:Progressive hearing loss is very common in the population but we still know little about the underlying pathology. A new spontaneous mouse mutation (stonedeaf, stdf?) leading to recessive, early-onset progressive hearing loss was detected and exome sequencing revealed a Thr289Arg substitution in Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor-2 (S1pr2). Mutants aged 2 weeks had normal hearing sensitivity, but at 4 weeks most showed variable degrees of hearing impairment, which became severe or profound in all mutants by 14 weeks. Endocochlear potential (EP) was normal at 2 weeks old but was reduced by 4 and 8 weeks old in mutants, and the stria vascularis, which generates the EP, showed degenerative changes. Three independent mouse knockout alleles of S1pr2 have been described previously, but this is the first time that a reduced EP has been reported. Genomic markers close to the human S1PR2 gene were significantly associated with auditory thresholds in the 1958 British Birth Cohort (n?=?6099), suggesting involvement of S1P signalling in human hearing loss. The finding of early onset loss of EP gives new mechanistic insight into the disease process and suggests that therapies for humans with hearing loss due to S1P signalling defects need to target strial function.
Project description:Immunolocalization studies of mouse cochlea and vestibular end-organ were performed to study the expression pattern of pendrin, the protein encoded by the Pendred syndrome gene (PDS), in the inner ear. The protein was restricted to the areas composed of specialized epithelial cells thought to play a key role in regulating the composition and resorption of endolymph. In the cochlea, pendrin was abundant in the apical membrane of cells in the spiral prominence and outer sulcus cells (along with their root processes). In the vestibular end-organ, pendrin was found in the transitional cells of the cristae ampullaris, utriculi, and sacculi as well as in the apical membrane of cells in the endolymphatic sac. Pds-knockout (Pds-/-) mice were found to lack pendrin immunoreactivity in all of these locations. Histological studies revealed that the stria vascularis in Pds-/- mice was only two-thirds the thickness seen in wild-type mice, with the strial marginal cells showing irregular shapes and sizes. Functional studies were also performed to examine the role of pendrin in endolymph homeostasis. Using double-barreled electrodes placed in both the cochlea and the utricle, the endocochlear potential and endolymph potassium concentration were measured in wild-type and Pds-/- mice. Consistent with the altered strial morphology, the endocochlear potential in Pds-/- mice was near zero and did not change during anoxia. On the other hand, the endolymphatic potassium concentration in Pds-/- mice was near normal in the cochlea and utricle. Together, these results suggest that pendrin serves a key role in the functioning of the basal and/or intermediate cells of the stria vascularis to maintain the endocochlear potential, but not in the potassium secretory function of the marginal cells.
Project description:Pendred syndrome, an autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by deafness and goiter, is caused by a mutation of SLC26A4, which codes for the anion exchanger pendrin. We investigated the relationship between pendrin expression and deafness using mice that have (Slc26a4+/+ or Slc26a4+/-) or lack (Slc26a4-/-) a complete Slc26a4 gene. Previously, we reported that stria vascularis of adult Slc26a4-/- mice is hyperpigmented and that marginal cells appear disorganized. Here we determine the time course of hyperpigmentation and marginal cell disorganization, and test the hypothesis that inflammation contributes to this tissue degeneration.Slc26a4-/- and age-matched control (Slc26a4+/+ or Slc26a4+/-) mice were studied at four postnatal (P) developmental stages: before and after the age that marks the onset of hearing (P10 and P15, respectively), after weaning (P28-41) and adult (P74-170). Degeneration and hyperpigmentation stria vascularis was evaluated by confocal microscopy. Gene expression in stria vascularis was analyzed by microarray and quantitative RT-PCR. In addition, the expression of a select group of genes was quantified in spiral ligament, spleen and liver to evaluate whether expression changes seen in stria vascularis are specific for stria vascularis or systemic in nature.Degeneration of stria vascularis defined as hyperpigmentation and marginal cells disorganization was not seen at P10 or P15, but occurred after weaning and was associated with staining for CD68, a marker for macrophages. Marginal cells in Slc26a4-/-, however, had a larger apical surface area at P10 and P15. No difference in the expression of Lyzs, C3 and Cd45 was found in stria vascularis of P15 Slc26a4+/- and Slc26a4-/- mice. However, differences in expression were found after weaning and in adult mice. No difference in the expression of markers for acute inflammation, including Il1a, Il6, Il12a, Nos2 and Nos3 were found at P15, after weaning or in adults. The expression of macrophage markers including Ptprc (= Cd45), Cd68, Cd83, Lyzs, Lgals3 (= Mac2 antigen), Msr2, Cathepsins B, S, and K (Ctsb, Ctss, Ctsk) and complement components C1r, C3 and C4 was significantly increased in stria vascularis of adult Slc26a4-/- mice compared to Slc26a4+/+ mice. Expression of macrophage markers Cd45 and Cd84 and complement components C1r and C3 was increased in stria vascularis but not in spiral ligament, liver or spleen of Slc26a4-/- compared to Slc26a4+/- mice. The expression of Lyzs was increased in stria vascularis and spiral ligament but not in liver or spleen.The data demonstrate that hyperpigmentation of stria vascularis and marginal cell reorganization in Slc26a4-/- mice occur after weaning, coinciding with an invasion of macrophages. The data suggest that macrophage invasion contributes to tissue degeneration in stria vascularis, and that macrophage invasion is restricted to stria vascularis and is not systemic in nature. The delayed onset of degeneration of stria vascularis suggests that a window of opportunity exists to restore/preserve hearing in mice and therefore possibly in humans suffering from Pendred syndrome.
Project description:Regular physical exercise reduces the risk for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and disability and is associated with longer lifespan expectancy (Taylor et al., 2004; Pahor et al., 2014; Anton et al., 2015; Arem et al., 2015). In contrast, decreased physical function is associated with hearing loss among older adults (Li et al., 2013; Chen et al., 2015). Here, we investigated the effects of long-term voluntary wheel running (WR) on age-related hearing loss (AHL) in CBA/CaJ mice, a well established model of AHL (Zheng et al., 1999). WR activity peaked at 6 months of age (12,280 m/d) and gradually decreased over time. At 24 months of age, the average WR distance was 3987 m/d. Twenty-four-month-old runners had less cochlear hair cell and spiral ganglion neuron loss and better auditory brainstem response thresholds at the low and middle frequencies compared with age-matched, non-WR controls. Gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of inner ear tissues from 6-month-old controls and runners revealed that WR resulted in a marked enrichment for GO gene sets associated with immune response, inflammatory response, vascular function, and apoptosis. In agreement with these results, there was reduced stria vascularis (SV) atrophy and reduced loss of capillaries in the SV of old runners versus old controls. Given that SV holds numerous capillaries that are essential for transporting oxygen and nutrients into the cochlea, our findings suggest that long-term exercise delays the progression of AHL by reducing age-related loss of strial capillaries associated with inflammation.Nearly two-thirds of adults aged 70 years or older develop significant age-related hearing loss (AHL), a condition that can lead to social isolation and major communication difficulties. AHL is also associated with decreased physical function among older adults. In the current study, we show that regular exercise slowed AHL and cochlear degeneration significantly in a well established murine model. Our data suggest that regular exercise delays the progression of AHL by reducing age-related loss of strial capillaries associated with inflammation.