Age-related loss of auditory sensitivity in the zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Zeng, R., Brown, A.D., Rogers, L.S., Lawrence, O.T., Clark, J.I., Sisneros, J.A.
Hearing Research   403: 108189 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Lawrence, Owen
Age-related hearing loss, Auditory evoked potential, Presbycusis
MeSH Terms
  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Presbycusis*
  • Sound
  • Zebrafish*
33556775 Full text @ Hear. Res.
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL), also known as presbycusis, is a widespread and debilitating condition impacting many older adults. Conventionally, researchers utilize mammalian model systems or human cadaveric tissue to study ARHL pathology. Recently, the zebrafish has become an effective and tractable model system for a wide variety of genetic and environmental auditory insults, but little is known about the incidence or extent of ARHL in zebrafish and other non-mammalian models. Here, we evaluated whether zebrafish exhibit age-related loss in auditory sensitivity. The auditory sensitivity of adult wild-type zebrafish (AB/WIK strain) from three adult age subgroups (13-month, 20-month, and 37-month) was characterized using the auditory evoked potential (AEP) recording technique. AEPs were elicited using pure tone stimuli (115-4500 Hz) presented via an underwater loudspeaker and recorded using shielded subdermal metal electrodes. Based on measures of sound pressure and particle acceleration, the mean AEP thresholds of 37-month-old fish [mean sound pressure level (SPL) = 122.2 dB ± 2.2 dB SE re: 1 μPa; mean particle acceleration level (PAL) = -27.5 ± 2.3 dB SE re: 1 ms-2] were approximately 9 dB higher than that of 20-month-old fish [(mean SPL = 113.1 ± 2.7 dB SE re: 1 μPa; mean PAL = -37.2 ± 2.8 dB re: 1 ms-2; p = 0.007)] and 6 dB higher than that of 13-month-old fish [(mean SPL = 116.3 ± 2.5 dB SE re: 1 μPa; mean PAL = -34.1 ± 2.6 dB SE re: 1 ms-2; p = 0.052)]. Lowest AEP thresholds for all three age groups were generally between 800 Hz and 1850 Hz, with no evidence for frequency-specific age-related loss. Our results suggest that zebrafish undergo age-related loss in auditory sensitivity, but the form and magnitude of loss is markedly different than in mammals, including humans. Future work is needed to further describe the incidence and extent of ARHL across vertebrate groups and to determine which, if any, ARHL mechanisms may be conserved across vertebrates to support meaningful comparative/translational studies.
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