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).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)