Objectives The aim of this study was to observe the effects of mannitol, administered topically at the round window (RW), on cochlear blood flow (CBF) and distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) after repeated episodes of cochlear ischemia.
Methods Ten young rabbits were used for this study. Reversible ischemic episodes within the cochlea were induced by directly compressing the internal auditory artery (IAA). CBF was measured using a laser-Doppler (LD) probe positioned at the RW niche. DPOAEs were measured at 4, 8, and 12 kHz geometric mean frequency (GMF) using 60 dB sound pressure level (SPL) primary tone stimuli. In five test ears, mannitol was administered topically at the RW for 30 minutes before the IAA compressions. In five control ears, the IAA compressions were undertaken without application of RW medication. Each ear underwent three 5 minute IAA compressions with a 60 minute rest period between compressions.
Results In the control animals, it was observed that a progressive reduction in DPOAE level followed each successive IAA compression at all three test frequencies. The reduction in DPOAE amplitudes was consistently greater at the higher test frequencies. In the test rabbits, the RW administration of mannitol resulted in significantly less reduction in DPOAE level measures after repeated IAA compressions. For example, 30 minutes after reperfusion at 12 kHz GMF, DPOAE levels in the control ears were reduced by 1.5, 6.0, and 16 dB, compared with 1.5, 4.0, and 6.0 dB in the mannitol test ears.
Conclusions Mannitol appears to exert a protective effect on cochlear function after periods of ischemia. The RW appears to be an efficacious route for topical administration of mannitol into the inner ear.