Mechanism of Cisplatin Ototoxicity: Antioxidant System


Author for correspondence: Satu M. Somani, Department of Pharmacology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, P. O. Box 19230, Springfield, IL 62794-9230, U.S.A. (fax + 1 217 524 0145).


Abstract: The dose and duration limiting toxic effects of cisplatin are ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity. While several studies have attempted to shed some light on the causes of nephrotoxicity, the reasons for ototoxicity induced by cisplatin are poorly understood. Therefore, this investigation was undertaken to delineate the potential mechanisms underlying cisplatin ototoxicity. The role of glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and malondialdehyde levels, and antioxidant enzyme activities [superoxide dismutase, catalase, GSH peroxidase, and GSH reductase] were examined in cochlear toxicity following an acute dose of cisplatin. Male Wistar rats were treated with various doses of cisplatin. Pretreatment auditory brain stem evoked responses (ABR) were performed and then post-treatment ABRs and endocochlear potentials were also performed after three days. Acute cochlear toxicity (ototoxicity) was evidenced as elevated hearing thresholds and prolonged wave I latencies in response to various stimuli (clicks and tone bursts at 2, 8, 16 and 32 kHz) on ABRs. The endocochlear potentials were reduced (50% control) in cisplatin-treated rats as compared to control animals. The rats were sacrified and cochleae isolated. The GSH, GSSG and malondialdehyde levels, and antioxidant enzyme activities were determined. Cisplatin ototoxicity correlated with a decrease in cochlear GSH [0.45±0.012 nmol/mg] after cisplatin administration compared to 0.95±012 nmol/mg in control cochleae (P<0.05). Superoxide dismutase, catalase activities and malondialehyde levels were significantly increased in the cochleae of cisplatin injected rats. Cochlear GSH-peroxidase and GSH reductase activity significantly decreased after cisplatin administration. Alterations in the activity of antioxidant enzymes, an increase in malondialdehyde levels, and depletion of cochlear GSH suggest a role for reactive oxygen species mediated damage of the cochlea in cisplatin toxicity. These biochemical changes were accompanied by the elevation of ABR threshold that appears to correlate well with alterations in antioxidant systems which could be the cause of cisplatin ototoxicity.