Aim: to investigate effectiveness of Low level laser therapy (LLLT) in rescueing ouabain induced spiral ganglion cell damage using Mongolian gerbils. Methods: Animals were divided into 3 groups; Control, Ouabain, Ouabain + LLLT group. Auditory neuropathy was induced by topical application of ouabain (1 mmol/L, 3uL) on the round window membrane in gerbils. Transmeatal LLLT was irradiated into the right ear for 1h (200mW, 720 J) daily for 7d in Ouabain + LLLT group. Before and 7 days after ouabain application, hearing was evaluated using both ABR and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE). Seven days after ouabain application, animals were sacrificed to evaluate the morphological changes of cochlea using cochlear section image and whole mount Immunofluorescent staining. Results: DPOAE tests were normal in all animals after ouabain topical treatment indicating intact outer hair cells. Ouabain group showed ABR threshold increase compared with control group. Ouabain+LLLT group showed significant improvement of ABR threshold compared to ouabain only group. H and E stains of mid-modiolar section of cochlear showed spiral ganglion cells, neurofilaments, and post synaptic receptor counts were decreased while inner and outer hair cells were preserved in ouabain group. Ouabain +LLLT group showed higher numbers of spiral ganglion cells, density of neurofilaments and post synaptic receptor counts compared to ouabain group. Conclusions: The results demonstrated that LLLT was effective to rescue ouabain-induced spiral ganglion neuropathy.
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