Cisplatin ototoxicity in the guinea pig: vestibular and cochlear damage

Hear Res. 2003 Aug;182(1-2):56-64. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(03)00142-4.


The aim of the present study was to investigate both vestibular and cochlear cisplatin toxicity. Twelve albino guinea pigs were divided into an experimental (n=8) and a control saline group (n=4) and were treated with cisplatin at a daily dose of 2.5 mg/kg for 6 consecutive days. Vestibular dysfunction was evaluated by computing the gain of the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) evoked by stimulation in the horizontal (HVOR) and vertical (VVOR) planes. Changes in cochlear function were characterised as compound action potential threshold shifts. After the functional testing, tympanic bullae were removed and processed for morphological examination of the sensorineural epithelium. The onset of vestibular functional impairment was observed on the third day, although the VOR gain decrease was not significant. The impairment of the vestibular function progressed until the sixth day becoming statistically significant particularly at VVOR mid frequencies of stimulation. At these frequencies both macula and crista ampullaris functions are involved. Concomitantly a progressive auditory threshold shift was observed at all stimulus frequencies. The decline of the auditory function was statistically significant from the third day of treatment and it was more evident at high frequencies. Morphological observations showed a massive loss of outer hair cells and a degeneration of the organ of Corti in the basal/middle turns and only a slight loss of hair cells of the cristae ampullares and maculae. In conclusion, functional and morphological data provide evidence that the toxic effect of cisplatin is more pronounced in the organ of Corti than in the vestibular epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / toxicity*
  • Cochlea / drug effects*
  • Cochlea / pathology
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / drug effects
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / drug effects
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / pathology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / drug effects*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / pathology
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin