Soluble Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 and Soluble Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 in Sudden Hearing Loss

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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the concentration of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 in patients affected by sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).

Study Design:

Prospective study.


Tertiary referral center.


Patients affected by SSHL were evaluated. Inclusion criteria for this study were hearing loss of more than 30 dB hearing level affecting at least 3 contiguous frequencies, normal hearing on the contralateral ear, negative history of hearing loss or ear surgery in the affected ear, and magnetic resonance with gadolinium negative for VIII cranial nerve pathologic findings.


Circulating levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) 1 were evaluated by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Main Outcome Measures:

The levels of adhesion molecules in SSHL patients were compared with those of a control group.


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and VCAM-1 levels in sera of patients with SSHL were significantly higher than those of the matched control subjects (p < 0.001). Statistical analysis did not show significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of the known vascular risk factors such as total and fractionated cholesterol, triglycerides, fibrinogen, erythrocyte sedimentation rate smoking, and diabetes.


The results of this study show that in SSHL patients, there is an increased expression of circulating adhesion molecules confirming the existence of an endothelial dysfunction and supporting the vascular involvement in the pathogenesis of the disease. The identification of high levels of adhesion molecules and of the endothelial dysfunction open the way to selective pharmacologic treatments able to correct the activation of endothelial cells.

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