Changes in Immunostaining of Inner Ears After Antigen Challenge Into the Scala Tympani

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To study the mechanisms of immune responses and immune injuries in inner ears, labyrinthitis was induced by inoculation of keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) into the scala tympani of systemically sensitized guinea pigs. Inner ears were then immunostained for KLH, immunoglobulin G (IgG), albumin, connexin26 (Cx26), and sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphate (Na,K-ATPase). Inflammatory cells containing KLH were observed in the scala tympani and in the collecting venule of the spiral modiolar vein (SMV). Spiral ligament, spiral limbus, and blood vessels including the SMV were diffusely positive for IgG and albumin. Immunoreactivity for Cx26 and Na,K-ATPase was decreased compared with the normal ears in the fibrocytes of the spiral ligament. These results suggest that inflammatory cells and blood constituents could extravasate into the cochlea from blood vessels and that fibrocyte damage in the spiral ligament could cause cochlear dysfunction.

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