F1 (CBA×C57) mice show superior hearing in old age relative to their parental strains: hybrid vigor or a new animal model for "golden ears"?

Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Sep;32(9):1716-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.09.009. Epub 2009 Oct 29.


Age-related hearing loss - presbycusis - is the most common communication problem and third most prevalent chronic medical disorder of the aged. The CBA and C57BL/6 mouse strains are useful for studying features of presbycusis. The CBA loses its hearing slowly, like most humans. Because the C57 develops a rapid, high frequency hearing loss by middle age, it has an "old" ear but a relatively young brain, a model that helps separate peripheral (cochlear) from central (brain) etiologies. This field of sensory neuroscience lacks a good mouse model for the 5-10% of aged humans with normal cochlear sensitivity, but who have trouble perceiving speech in background noise. We hypothesized that F1 (CBA×C57) hybrids would have better hearing than either parental strain. Measurements of peripheral auditory sensitivity supported this hypothesis, however, a rapid decline in the auditory efferent feedback system, did not. Therefore, F1s might be an optimal model for studying cases where the peripheral hearing is quite good in old age; thereby allowing isolation of central auditory changes due to brain neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiopathology
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Chimera / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Efferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Central / genetics*
  • Hybrid Vigor / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Species Specificity