Human Superior Olivary Nucleus Neuron Populations in Subjects With Normal Hearing and Presbycusis

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Abstract

Introduction:

Normative data on superior olivary nucleus neuron counts derived from human specimens are sparse, and little is known about their coherence with structure and function of the cochlea. The purpose of this study was to quantify the neuron populations of the divisions of the superior olivary nucleus in human subjects with normal hearing and presbycusis and investigate potential relationships between these findings and histopathology in the cochlea and hearing phenotype

Methods:

Histopathologic examination of temporal bone and brainstem specimens from 13 subjects having normal hearing or presbycusis was undertaken. The following was determined for each: number and density of superior olivary nucleus and cochlear nucleus neurons, inner and outer hair cell counts, spiral ganglion cell counts, and pure tone audiometry.

Results:

The results demonstrate a significant relationship between cells within structures of the cochlear nucleus and the number of neurons of the medial superior olivary nucleus. No relationship between superior olivary nucleus neuron counts/density and cochlear histopathology or hearing phenotype was encountered.

Conclusion:

Normative data for superior olivary nucleus neuron populations are further established in the data presented in this study that includes subjects with normal hearing and also presbycusis.

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