The electrochemical changes of the inner ear fluids were studied in the guinea pig during the development of endolymphatic hydrops in an experimental model of Meniere's disease obtained by the blockage of the vestibular aqueduct. The endocochle-ar potential (first and third turns) was recorded, and the sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations, and osmolality of the endolymph (first and third turns) and perilymph were determined at different intervals from 2 to 24 weeks after the induction of the hydrops. The development of hydrops was monitored by the compound action potential once a week during the observation period. In normal, nonoperated guinea pigs, longitudinal endolymphatic gradients of en-docochlear potential, potassium and chloride concentrations, and osmolality, increasing from the apex to the base of the cochlea, were observed. After 2 weeks of hydrops, no alteration of this pattern was detected. After 6 and 9 weeks of hydrops, a progressive decrease of endocochlear potential, potassium and chloride concentrations, and osmolality was noticed at the first turn (6 and 9 weeks) and then at the third turn (9 weeks) which resulted in the disappearance of longitudinal gradients. At 24 weeks, the endocochlear potential was still diminished by 60%, whereas potassium and chloride concentrations and osmolality increased as compared to 9-week values but remained lower than in controls. The changes incompostion of endolymph induced by the development of the hydrops could be related to the progressive alteration of the ionic permealibilty of the cochlear epithelium which should be localized at the distended Ressinersmembrane.
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