Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were evaluated during the postnatal development (P10–P180) of taiep rats, neurological mutants characterized by early abnormal myelin development and subsequent demyelination of the CNS. The disorder is produced by an autosomal recessive mutation trait that affects the oligodendrocytes but not the Schwann cells. After onset of ABRs (P12–P14), taiep rats and their nonaffected heterozygous littermates that served as controls showed a similar pattern of maturation for wave I. The central waves (In–IV) showed significantly longer latencies in the mutants. By P60–P180, the later waves (III and IV) were frequently difficult to discern. From the onset of ABRs, the interpeak latency I–IV, corresponding to the central conduction time (CCT) of the auditory pathway, showed in taiep rats significantly longer values than controls. After an initial reduction, proportional to that of control rats, the CCT value increased progressively during the second month of the mutants’ lives. The electrophysiological results of the present study strongly support the hypothesis that mutation in the taiep rat impairs neuromaturation of the central auditory pathway in the brainstem by affecting the myelination process in the CNS.
Copyright © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel