Letter | Published:

Experimental viral labyrinthitis

Naturevolume 254pages329331 (1975) | Download Citation



CONGENITAL and acquired deafness and acute and chronic vertigo are often attributed to viral infections of the inner ear. Direct demonstration of natural or experimental infection of the membranous labyrinths of the cochlear and vestibular systems has not been practicable, however, because these structures are encased in the dense temporal bones. Evidence that viral infections can cause deafness and vertigo in man is based largely on epidemiological observations and on a limited number of temporal bones examined months or years after the acute event. Temporal bones from patients with deafness associated with mumps, measles, cytomegalovirus and rubella have shown a cochlear–saccular degeneration suggesting that endolymphatic structures may have been infected1–4. Except for cytomegalovirus infections, which cause characteristic histopathological changes4, there are no previous studies of acute viral infections of the inner ear in patients or experimental animals.

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  1. Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205

    • L. E. DAVIS
    •  & R. T. JOHNSON


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