JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Fundamental immune mechanisms of the brain and inner ear

J P Harris, A F Ryan
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 1995, 112 (6): 639-53
7777346
Because of the blood-brain and blood-labyrinthine barriers, the brain and inner ear were once thought to be immunoprivileged sites. Although these barriers provide protection from inflammatory damage to the delicate structures of the organs, both sites have since been shown to be capable of active immune responses when appropriately stimulated. In the inner ear, perisacular tissue around the endolymphatic sac hosts resident lymphocytes and serves as a site of immunosurveillance. Lymphocytes also enter the inner ear from the circulation, and in the cochlea this occurs via the spiral modiolar vein. Immune responses can protect the labyrinth from infection, but they can also cause bystander injury. Moreover, the cochlea can itself become the target of immune responses that damage hearing. Such autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss can be site specific, with the primary manifestation of the disorder being hearing loss and dysequilibrium. Some of these cases can be diagnosed by antibody or lymphocyte responses to inner ear antigens. Alternately, systemic autoimmune disorders can result in inner ear dysfunction as part of a broader spectrum of disease. Both forms of immune-mediated inner ear dysfunction may respond to immunosuppressive therapies, including steroids, cytotoxic agents, and plasmapheresis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
7777346
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.