Background: Fetal exposure to in utero inflammation such as chorioamnionitis is related to central nervous system injury. We hypothesized that chorioamnionitis can provoke inflammatory changes in the perilymph and alter hearing outcome. Methods: Pregnant ewes were randomized into 2 groups: intrauterine injection with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; n = 19) or saline (n = 21). In the first experiment, fetal perilymph samples were taken for cytokine analysis. In the second experiment, consecutive bone-conducted auditory brain stem responses were obtained from 1 to 7 months after birth. Results: Perilymph samples showed a significant elevation in interleukin 8 in the LPS group. Auditory brain stem response analysis demonstrated higher response thresholds and a prolongation of absolute peak V and interpeak intervals I to V and III to V in the LPS group compared to sham treatment. Conclusion: Our study confirms the hypothesis that an intrauterine inflammation by LPS can result in a fetal perilymphatic inflammatory response and functional impaired hearing outcomes after birth in a sheep model.
- auditory brain stem responses
- hearing loss