Disorders of cochlear blood flow

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2003 Sep;43(1):17-28. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0173(03)00189-9.


The cochlea is principally supplied from the inner ear artery (labyrinthine artery), which is usually a branch of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery. Cochlear blood flow is a function of cochlear perfusion pressure, which is calculated as the difference between mean arterial blood pressure and inner ear fluid pressure. Many otologic disorders such as noise-induced hearing loss, endolymphatic hydrops and presbycusis are suspected of being related to alterations in cochlear blood flow. However, the human cochlea is not easily accessible for investigation because this delicate sensory organ is hidden deep in the temporal bone. In patients with sensorineural hearing loss, magnetic resonance imaging, laser-Doppler flowmetry and ultrasonography have been used to investigate the status of cochlear blood flow. There have been many reports of hearing loss that were considered to be caused by blood flow disturbance in the cochlea. However, direct evidence of blood flow disturbance in the cochlea is still lacking in most of the cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basilar Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Basilar Artery / physiopathology
  • Cochlea / blood supply*
  • Cochlea / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / complications*
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology*


  • Nitric Oxide