The C57BL/6J (B6) mouse strain carries a cadherin 23 mutation (Cdh23(753A), also known as Ahl), which affects inner ear structures and results in age-related hearing loss. The B6.CAST strain harbors the wild type Cdh23 gene, and hence, the influence of Ahl is absent. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the effect of age and gender on gravity receptor function in B6 and B6.CAST strains and to compare functional aging between auditory and vestibular modalities. Auditory sensitivity declined at significantly faster rates than gravity receptor sensitivity for both strains. Indeed, vestibular functional aging was minimal for both strains. The comparatively smaller loss of macular versus cochlear sensitivity in both the B6 and B6.CAST strains suggests that the contribution of Ahl to the aging of the vestibular system is minimal, and thus very different than its influence on aging of the auditory system. Alternatively, there exist unidentified genes or gene modifiers that serve to slow the degeneration of gravity receptor structures and maintain gravity receptor sensitivity into advanced age.
Keywords: Aging; Auditory; Balance; Cochlea; Hearing; Saccule; Utricle; Vestibular.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.