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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Otolaryngology

PI: Vladimir L. Tsuprun

Effect of Middle Ear Inflammation on the Inner Ear

The long-term goal of this group is to develop novel approaches for prevention and treatment of otitis media (OM). They are developing a new strategy for prevention of OM and its inner ear complications that relies on a combination of PspA and other conserved proteins of Streptococcus pneumoniae. They utilize different mutant bacterial strains and immunization of animals against these proteins. The objective is to understand the role of bacterial virulence factors in bacterial invasion, colonization, and pathogenesis in the middle and inner ears for therapeutic targeting and to develop a vaccine composition that optimally neutralizes the most critical protein virulence factors. The researchers’ central hypothesis is that PspA and other bacterial proteins affect the pathology of the middle and inner ears. These bacterial components and inflammatory mediators produced in the middle ear pass through the round window membrane into the inner ear and alter the expression of host proteins, damaging cochlear structures, and resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. The researchers’ rationale is that knowing how bacterial components affect the pathology of the middle and inner ears will make it possible to design new approaches for the prevention and treatment of otitis media and its complications. The specific aims of this project are: to identify the role of pneumococcal PspA protein and its combination with other potential pneumococcal vaccine proteins on the middle/inner ear and strategies for prevention of otitis media; and to identify mechanisms of inner ear damage and auditory dysfunction caused by live S. pneumoniae. MSI resources are used for stereological analysis and three-dimensional reconstruction of temporal bones.

Group Member

Steven K. Juhn, Faculty Collaborator