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BMC Neuroscience

, 12:102

Cognition and behavior: behavioral neurogenetics


BackgroundCaspase-3 is one of the most downstream enzymes activated in the apoptotic pathway. In caspase-3 deficient mice, loss of cochlear hair cells and spiral ganglion cells coincide closely with hearing loss. In contrast with the auditory system, details of the vestibular phenotype have not been characterized. Here we report the vestibular phenotype and inner ear anatomy in the caspase-3 deficient Casp3 mouse strain.

ResultsAverage ABR thresholds of Casp3mice were significantly elevated P < 0.05 compared to Casp3mice and Casp3mice at 3 months of age. In DPOAE testing, distortion product 2F1-F2 was significantly decreased P < 0.05 in Casp3mice, whereas Casp3and Casp3mice showed normal and comparable values to each other. Casp3mice were hyperactive and exhibited circling behavior when excited. In lateral canal VOR testing, Casp3mice had minimal response to any of the stimuli tested, whereas Casp3mice had an intermediate response compared to Casp3mice. Inner ear anatomical and histological analysis revealed gross hypomorphism of the vestibular organs, in which the main site was the anterior semicircular canal. Hair cell numbers in the anterior- and lateral crista, and utricle were significantly smaller in Casp3mice whereas the Casp3and Casp3mice had normal hair cell numbers.

ConclusionsThese results indicate that caspase-3 is essential for correct functioning of the cochlea as well as normal development and function of the vestibule.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2202-12-102 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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