Vestibular neuritis is a neuroinflammatory, peripheral vestibular pathology leading to chronic deficits and long-term disability. While current corticosteroid-based therapy does not appear to positively influence the long term outcome for the patient, a recent clinical pilot study suggested a functional vestibuloprotective effect of the anti-emetic ondansetron in the treatment of vestibular neuritis. We here demonstrate that systemic post-insult administration of ondansetron in a novel rat model of severe excitotoxic vestibular insult reproduces the clinically demonstrated functional benefits. This ondansetron-conferred reduction of functional deficits stems from the protection of synapses between sensory hair cells and primary neurons from excitotoxically induced lesion.
Keywords: Vestibule; excitoxicity; functional deficit; neuritis; nystagmus; ondansetron; vertigo.