In the inner ear, endolymph fluid surrounds the organ of Corti, which is important for auditory function; notably, even slight environmental changes mediated by trauma or infection can have significant consequences. However, it is unclear how the immune response is modulated in these tissues. Here, we report the local immune surveillance role of cleaved cochlin LCCL (Limulus factor C, Cochlin, and Lgl1) during Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in the cochlea. Upon infection, the LCCL domain is cleaved from cochlin and secreted into the perilymph. This cleaved fragment sequesters infiltrating bacteria in the scala tympani and subsequently recruits resident immune cells to eliminate the bacteria. Importantly, hearing loss in a cochlin knockout mouse model is remedied by treatment with a cochlin LCCL peptide. These findings suggest cleaved cochlin LCCL constitutes a critical factor in innate immunity and auditory function and may be a potential therapeutic target to treat chronic otitis media-induced hearing loss.
Keywords: DFNA9; LCCL; cochlin; hearing loss; innate immunity; inner ear; pseudomonas.
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