Gentamicin uptake in the chinchilla inner ear

Pamela Roehm, Michael Hoffer, Carey D. Balaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Studies of transtympanic gentamicin have focused on clinical use and outcomes. This study presents evidence of bilateral uptake and retention of gentamicin in certain inner ear cells and structures following transtympanic gentamicin application. Middle ear application of gentamicin was performed by either minipump (Alza model, 2002) or transtympanic injection in a chinchilla model. Histological sections of decalcified temporal bones were stained to identify the distribution of gentamicin. Using both anti-gentamicin immunohistochemistry and autoradiography of tracer amounts of tritiated gentamicin, Scarpa's and spiral ganglion cells, stria vascularis, and vestibular dark cells of the injected ear were found to have higher levels of gentamicin and retain it within cell bodies while staining levels fell to background levels in the rest of the injected ear over the course of 14 days. There was no evidence of an apical to basal gradient of anti-gentamicin staining within the spiral ganglion. Contralateral inner ear cells showed light anti-gentamicin staining. Cell bodies in the ipsilateral dorsal cochlear nucleus bordering the cochlear aqueduct (CA) showed a lateral to medial gradient of gentamicin staining, suggesting the CA as a potential site of transfer of gentamicin to the contralateral ear. Direct effects of aminoglycosides on ganglion cells may have implications on both the success of cochlear implantation in patients deafened following systemic aminoglycoside therapy and on the advisability of clinical practices of transtympanic gentamicin therapy and ototopic aminoglycoside treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear aqueduct
  • Spiral ganglion
  • Transtympanic gentamicin
  • Uptake
  • Vestibular ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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