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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 28

of 'Salicylate poisoning in children and adolescents'

Auditory sensori-neural alterations induced by salicylate.
Cazals Y
Prog Neurobiol. 2000;62(6):583.
Early after the development of aspirin, almost 150 years ago, its auditory toxicity has been associated with high doses employed in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Tinnitus, loss of absolute acoustic sensitivity and alterations of perceived sounds are the three auditory alterations described by human subjects after ingestion of large doses of salicylate. They develop over the initials days of treatment but may then level off, fluctuate or decrease, and are reversible within a few days of cessation of treatment. They may also occur within hours of ingestion of an extremely large dose. Individual subjects vary notably as to their susceptibility to salicylate-induced auditory toxicity. Tinnitus may be the first subjective symptom, and is often described as a continuous high pitch sound of mild loudness. The hearing loss is slight to moderate, bilaterally symmetrical and affects all frequencies with often a predominance at the high frequencies. Alterations of perceived sounds include broadening of frequency filtering, alterations in temporal detection, deterioration of speech understanding and hypersensitivity to noise. Behavioral conditioning of animals provides evidence for mild and reversible hearing loss and tinnitus, similar to those observed in humans. Anatomical examinations revealed significantalterations only at outer hair cell lateral membrane. Electrophysiological investigations showed no change in endocochlear resting potential, and small changes in the compound sensory potentials, cochlear microphonic and summating potential, at low acoustic levels. Measures of cochlear mechanical responses to sounds indicated a clear loss of absolute sensitivity and an associated broadening of frequency filtering, both of a magnitude similar to audiometric alterations in humans, but at extremely high salicylate levels. Otoacoustic emissions demonstrated changes in the mechano-sensory functioning of the cochlea in the form of decrease of spontaneous emissions and reduced nonlinearities. In vitro measures of isolated outer hair cells showed reduction of their fast motile responses which are thought to be at the origin of cochlear absolute sensitivity and associated fine filtering. Acoustically evoked neural responses from the eighth nerve to the auditory cortex showed reversible and mild losses of absolute sensitivity and associated broadening of frequency filtering. There is no evidence of a direct alteration of cochlear efferent innervation. Evidence was obtained for decreases in cochlear blood supply under control of autonomous innervation. Spontaneous neural activity of the auditory nerve revealed increases in firings and/or in underlying temporal synchronies. Similar effects were found at the inferior colliculus, mostly at the external nucleus, and at the cortex, mostly at the anterior and less at the secondary auditory cortex but not at the primary auditory cortex. These changes in spontaneous activity might underlie tinnitus as they affect mostly neural elements coding high frequencies, can occur without a loss of sensitivity, are dose dependent, develop progressively, and are reversible. Biochemical cochlear alterations are poorly known. Modifications of oxydative phosphorylation does not seem to occur, involvement of inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis appears controversial but could underlie changes inblood supply. Other biochemical alterations certainly also occur at outer hair cells and at afferent nerve fibers but remain unknown.
Inserm EPI 9902 Pathologies de l'oreille interne et réhabilitation, Laboratoire Otologie NeuroOtologie, Facultéde Médecine Nord, Univ. Méditerranée Aix-Marseille II, 13916 Marseille Cedex 20, France. cazals.y@jean-roche.univ-mrs.fr