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  • Author or Editor: G Schaming x
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Aims

Labyrinthectomized rats are suitable models to test consequences of vestibular lesion and are widely used to study neural plasticity. We describe a combined microsurgical–chemical technique that can be routinely performed with minimum damage.

Methods

Caudal leaflet of the parotis is elevated. The tendinous fascia covering the bulla is opened frontally from the sternomastoid muscle’s tendon while sparing facial nerve branches. A 4 mm diameter hole is drilled into the bulla’s hind lower lateral wall to open the common (in rodents) mastoid-tympanic cavity. The cochlear crista (promontory) at the lower posterior part of its medial wall is identified as a bony prominence. A 1 mm diameter hole is drilled into its lower part. The perilymphatic/endolymphatic fluids with tissue debris of the Corti organ are suctioned. Ethanol is injected into the hole. Finally, 10 µL of sodium arsenite solution (50 µM/mL) is pumped into the labyrinth and left in place for 15 min. Simple closure in two layers (fascia and skin) is sufficient.

Results and conclusion

All rats had neurological symptoms specific for labyrinthectomy (muscle tone, body position, rotatory movements, nystagmus, central deafness). Otherwise, their behavior was unaffected, drinking and eating normally. After a few days, they learned to balance relying on visual and somatic stimuli (neuroplasticity).

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