Middle ear effusions and structure of the tympanic membrane.
SourceLaryngoscope, 111, 1, (2001), pp. 90-5-5
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectHearing and Communication Disorders; Pathogenesis, epidemiology, and treatment of microbial infections; Gehoor en communicatie; Pathogenese, epidemiologie en behandeling van microbiële infecties
OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of various middle ear effusions on the structure of the lamina propria of the tympanic membrane. METHODS: Sterile and infective middle ear effusions were induced by obstruction of the eustachian tube in specific pathogen-free (SPF) rats and in rats with upper airway infections (URI), respectively. The condition of the tympanic membrane was monitored at regular intervals. After varying survival times, the animals were killed and the tympanic membranes processed for light and electron microscopy. RESULTS: Sterile effusions always resulted in tympanosclerotic lesions. These lesions did not develop in the presence of primary-infected effusions. These effusions had a severe destructive effect on the lamina propria, followed by fibrosis. Generally, secondary infection did not markedly affect preexisting tympanosclerotic lesions. Moreover, calcification disappeared when re-aeration of the middle ear occurred, but the abnormal collagen depositions persisted. CONCLUSIONS: Both sterile and infective effusions result in comprehensive irreversible changes in the lamina propria of the pars tensa. The development of tympanosclerosis is confined to sterile effusions. Mechanical injury and compromised vascularization of the lamina propria are likely to be important etiological factors in the development of tympanosclerosis.
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