Increased frequencies of cochin-specific T cells in patients with autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss

Moo Jin Baek, Hyun Min Park, Justin M. Johnson, Cengiz Z. Altuntas, Daniel Jane-Wit, Ritika Jaini, C. Arturo Solares, Dawn M. Thomas, Edward J. Ball, Nahid G. Robertson, Cynthia C. Morton, Gordon B. Hughes, Vincent K. Tuohy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss (ASNHL) is the most common cause of sudden hearing loss in adults. Although autoimmune etiopathogenic events have long been suspected in ASNHL, inner ear-specific Ags capable of targeting T cell autoreactivity have not been identified in ASNHL. In this study, we show by ELISPOT analysis that compared with normal hearing age- and sex-matched control subjects, ASNHL patients have significantly higher frequencies of circulating T cells producing either IFN-γ (p = 0.0001) or IL-5 (p = 0.03) in response to recombinant human cochlin, the most abundant inner ear protein. In some patients, cochlin responsiveness involved both CD4+ and CD8 + T cells whereas other patients showed cochlin responsiveness confined to CD8+ T cells. ASNHL patients also showed significantly elevated cochlin-specific serum Ab titers compared with both normal hearing age- and sex-matched control subjects and patients with noise- and/or age-related hearing loss (p < 0.05 at all dilutions tested through 1/2048). Our study is the first to show T cell responsiveness to an inner ear-specific protein in ASNHL patients, and implicates cochlin as a prominent target Ag for mediating autoimmune inner ear inflammation and hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4203-4210
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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