Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials in Normal Mice and Phex Mice With Spontaneous Endolymphatic Hydrops

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Objective and Background:

Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) have been recorded from the neck musculature and the cervical spinal cord in humans and a limited number of laboratory animals in response to loud sound. However, the mouse VEMP has yet to be described. Evaluation of the sacculocollic pathway via VEMPs in mice can set the stage for future evaluations of mutant mice that now play an important role in research regarding human auditory and vestibular dysfunction.

Materials and Methods:

Sound-evoked potentials were recorded from the neck extensor muscles and the cervical spinal cord in normal adult mice and in circling Phex Hyp-Duk/y mice with known vestibular abnormalities, including endolymphatic hydrops (ELH).


Biphasic potentials were recorded from all normal animals. The mean threshold of the VEMP response in normal adult mice was 60 dB normal hearing level with a mean peak latency of 6.25 ± 0.46 and 7.95 ± 0.42 milliseconds for p1 and n1 peaks, respectively. At the maximum sound intensity used (100 dB normal hearing level), 4 of 5 Phex mice did not exhibit VEMP responses, and 1 showed an elevated threshold, but normal response, with regard to peak latency and amplitude. The histologic findings in all of these Phex mice were consistent with distended membranous labyrinth, displaced Reissner membrane, ganglion cell loss, and ELH.


This is the first report of VEMP recordings in mice and the first report of abnormal VEMPs in a mouse model with ELH. The characteristics of these potentials such as higher response threshold in comparison to auditory brainstem response, myogenic nature of the response, and latency correlation with the cervical recording (accessory nerve nucleus) were similar to those of VEMPs in humans, guinea pigs, cats, and rats, suggesting that the mouse may be used as an animal model in the study of VEMPs. The simplicity and reliability of these recordings make the VEMP a uniquely informative test for assessing vestibular function, and these results suggest that they may be informative in mice with various mutations. However, further investigation is necessary.

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