Hypotheses: 1) Hearing loss caused by electrode insertion trauma has both acute and delayed components; and 2) the delayed component of trauma-initiated hearing loss can be prevented by a direct delivery of a peptide inhibitor of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase cell death signal cascade, that is, D-JNKI-1, immediately after the electrode insertion within the cochlea.
Background: Acute trauma to the macroscopic elements of the cochlea from electrode insertion is well known. The impact of trauma-induced oxidative stress within injured cochlear tissues and the efficacy of drugs (e.g., D-JNKI-1) to prevent apoptosis of damaged hair cells is not well defined.
Methods: Hearing function was tested by pure-tone evoked auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and distortion products of otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). D-JNKI-1 in artificial perilymph (AP) or AP alone was delivered into the scala tympani immediately after electrode trauma and for 7 days. Controls were nontreated contralateral and D-JNKI-1-treated ears without electrode insertion trauma.
Results: There was no increase in the hearing thresholds of either the contralateral control ears or in the D-JNKI-1 without trauma animals. There was a progressive increase in ABR thresholds and decrease in DPOAE amplitudes after electrode insertion trauma in untreated and in AP-treated cochleae. Treatment with D-JNKI-1 prevented the progressive increase in ABR thresholds and decrease in DPOAE amplitudes that occur after electrode insertion trauma.
Conclusion: Hearing loss caused by cochlear implant electrode insertion trauma in guinea pigs has both acute and delayed components. The delayed component can be prevented by treating the cochlea with D-JNKI-1.