Hypothesis: There are pathologic changes of vessels in the stria vascularis in patients with Ménière's disease.
Background: The cause of Ménière's disease is under debate.
Methods: This study examined 14 temporal bones from 7 patients with bilateral Ménière's disease, 30 temporal bones from 15 patients with unilateral Ménière's disease, and 17 age-matched, normal temporal bones from 12 subjects. The temporal bones were serially sectioned in the horizontal plane at a thickness of 20 mum and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. The midmodiolar section of the cochlea was selected from each subject, and the number of vessels in the stria vascularis in each cochlear turn was counted by light microscopy. The area of the lumen of each vessel in the stria vascularis was also measured.
Results: The number of vessels in the stria vascularis in ears with Ménière's disease was smaller than in normal controls in all cochlear turns. The number of vessels in the contralateral stria vascularis in patients with unilateral Ménière's disease was smaller than in normal controls in all cochlear turns. There was no significant difference between the area of the vessel lumen in the stria vascularis in patients with Ménière's disease and that in normal controls.
Conclusion: The stria vascularis may be ischemic bilaterally both in bilateral and unilateral Ménière's disease. Abnormal findings in the contralateral ears in unilateral Ménière's disease reported in previous studies might be related to poor vascularity of the stria vascularis.