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Immunodefense of the Round Window

Authors

  • Cecilia Engmér MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden; the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
    • Send correspondence to Cecilia Engmér, MD, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Karolinska University Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Göran Laurell MD, PhD,

    1. From the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; and the Department of Clinical Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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  • Dan Bagger-Sjöbäck MD, PhD,

    1. From the Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden; the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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  • Helge Rask-Andersen MD, PhD

    1. From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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  • Editor's Note: This Manuscript was accepted for publication January 28, 2008. Preliminary results from this study were presented at the 40th Inner Ear Biology Workshop, Granada, Spain, September 7–10, 2003. This study was a part of a European community research program of 3g-nanotechnology-based targeted drug delivery using the inner ear as a model target organ (Sixth Framework Program NMP-2004-3.4.1.5-1).

Abstract

A systematic analysis using serial sectioning of the round window membrane (RWM) in the cynomolgus monkey was performed. Light and transmission electron microscopy (LM and TEM) revealed that the RWM rim may be endowed with gland-like structures with glyco-protein material secernated into the window niche. This was detected in one third of the specimens. The secreted material displayed waste material and scavenger cells. There was also a rich network of capillaries, lymph channels, and sinusoidal veins containing leukocytes. Their abluminal surfaces displayed mature plasma cells and monocytes. These findings suggest that in certain primates the middle ear may have developed specific immunoprotective means for disposal of foreign and noxious substances before they reach the inner ear.

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