Exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone above USA standards are associated with auditory brainstem dysmorphology and abnormal auditory brainstem evoked potentials in healthy young dogs

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Abstract

Background

Delayed central conduction times in the auditory brainstem have been observed in Mexico City (MC) healthy children exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) above the current United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) standards. MC children have α synuclein brainstem accumulation and medial superior olivary complex (MSO) dysmorphology. The present study used a dog model to investigate the potential effects of air pollution on the function and morphology of the auditory brainstem.

Methodology

Twenty-four dogs living in clean air v MC, average age 37.1 ± 26.3 months, underwent brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) measurements. Eight dogs (4 MC, 4 Controls) were analysed for auditory brainstem morphology and histopathology.

Results

MC dogs showed ventral cochlear nuclei hypotrophy and MSO dysmorphology with a significant decrease in cell body size, decreased neuronal packing density with regions in the nucleus devoid of neurons and marked gliosis. MC dogs showed significant delayed BAEP absolute wave I, III and V latencies compared to controls.

Conclusions

MC dogs show auditory nuclei dysmorphology and BAEPs consistent with an alteration of the generator sites of the auditory brainstem response waveform. This study puts forward the usefulness of BAEPs to study auditory brainstem neurodegenerative changes associated with air pollution in dogs. Recognition of the role of non-invasive BAEPs in urban dogs is warranted to elucidate novel neurodegenerative pathways link to air pollution and a promising early diagnostic strategy for Alzheimer's Disease.

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