ISSN 1308-7649 | E-ISSN 2148-3817
Original Article
Estrogen Reduces Caspase-3 Expression in the Inner Ear of Guinea Pigs Exposed to Simulated Microgravity and Inboard Noises of Spaceship
Wei Wu 1 ,  
Baowei Li 1 ,  
Gang Wang 1 ,  
1 Clinic of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the 306th Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, China  
J Int Adv Otol 2014; 10: 25-29
DOI: 10.5152/iao.2014.005
Key Words: Sex hormone, apoptosis, hearing, auditory brainstem responses (ABR)

OBJECTIVE: In different tissues, oestrogen plays different roles in cell apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the effect of oestrogen on cell apoptosis in inner ear cells of guinea pigs exposed to simulated microgravity and inboard noises of a spaceship.


MATERIALS and METHODS: Three groups of guinea pigs received no oestrogen, a preventive dose of oestrogen, and treatment dose of oestrogen, respectively. Caspase-3 expression in the inner ears of different groups was evaluated using immunohistochemical staining. The hearing levels were tested by auditory brainstem response.


RESULTS: On the first day of exposure to the stimulus, the auditory brainstem response thresholds were lower in the treatment group than in the control and prevention groups. After 3-day recovery, the prevention group showed a greater auditory brainstem response threshold shift than the other two groups. The expression of caspase-3 in hair cells and stria vascularis cells was weaker in the treatment group on the first day of the exposure. However, after 3-day recovery, caspase-3 expression was weaker in the prevention group.



CONCLUSION: Estrogen had a protective effect on the hearing impairment caused by the combined factors of simulated inboard noises and microgravity of a spaceship, reflected by both the auditory brainstem response score and morphological characteristics. Different doses and periods of the administration of oestrogen showed different protective effects. Use of oestrogen for treatment resulted in a better protective effect right after the stimulus, whereas preventive use of oestrogen led to a better effect in the recovery period.

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