The acoustic startle reflex (ASR) amplitude can be enhanced or suppressed by noise-induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss; however, little is known about how the ASR changes when ototoxic drugs destroy outer hair cells (OHCs) and inner hair cells (IHCs). High doses of 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (HPβCD), a cholesterol-lowering drug used to treat Niemann-Pick Type disease type C1, initially destroy OHCs and then the IHCs 6–8 weeks later. Adult rats were treated with doses of HPβCD designed to produce a diversity of hair cell lesions and hearing losses. When HPβCD destroyed OHCs and IHCs in the extreme base of the cochlea and caused minimal high-frequency hearing loss, the ASR amplitudes were enhanced at 4-, 8- and 16 kHz. Enhanced ASR occurred during the first few weeks post-treatment when only OHCs were missing; little change in the ASR occurred 6–8-WK post-treatment. If HPβCD destroyed most OHCs and many IHCs in the basal half of the cochlea, high-frequency thresholds increased ∼50 dB, and ASR amplitudes were reduced ∼50% at 4-, 8- and 16-kHz. The ASR amplitude reduction occurred in the first few weeks post-treatment when the OHCs were degenerating. The ASR was largely abolished when most of the OHCs were missing over the basal two-thirds of the cochlea and a 40–50 dB hearing loss was present at most frequencies. These results indicate that high-doses of HPβCD generally lead to a decline in ASR amplitude as OHCs degenerate; however, ASR amplitudes were enhanced in a few cases when hair cell loss was confined to the extreme base of the cochlea.
Celia Zhang, Dalian Ding, Wei Sun, Bo Hua Hu, Senthilvelan Manohar, Richard Salvi (2022)
Time- and frequency-dependent changes in acoustic startle reflex amplitude following cyclodextrin-induced outer and inner cell loss, Hearing Research, 415, 108441, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2022.108441.