Inflammation and Hearing Loss Following Congenital CMV Infection

Inflammation and Hearing Loss Following Congenital CMV Infection 



Full title: Inflammation and Hearing Loss Following Congenital CMV Infection

Grantor: National Institutes of Health

Grant number:  1 R01 DC015980-01A1

Grantor's website:

Duration: 2017-2022

Coordinator: William J Britt, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

No. of participants: 3

Partners:  Stipan Jonjic, Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka

Keiko Hirose, ST. Louis, Children's Hospital, USA

Coordinator's web site

Total funding (Sub-award budget): USD 229.500

Brief description:

Hearing loss associated with congenital human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, a relatively frequent perinatal infection, accounts for nearly 25% of all causes of hearing loss in infants and children in the US. The mechanisms of disease caused by infection of the inner ear by this large herpesvirus are unknown, primarily because of hurdles inherent in the investigation of the inner ear in humans. We have developed an informative murine model of hearing loss in which newborn mice are infected peripherally and not intracranially with the closely related murine CMV. In this model, about 30-50% of infected mice develop sensorineural hearing loss and a significant number of mice with hearing loss exhibit progression in hearing loss, a clinically important feature of hearing loss in infants with HCMV associated hearing loss. Our findings strongly argue that virus-induced inflammation and not direct viral cytopathology is responsible for hearing loss and progressive hearing loss in this model. Our studies will explore this hypothesis by defining mechanisms of damage to the developing auditory system and hearing loss in animals associated with CMV-induced inflammation of the inner ear. Results from these studies will guide investigation into mechanisms of hearing loss in infants and children with HCMV associated hearing loss and identify therapeutic approaches that can be translated into treatment and prevention of hearing loss in CMV infected infants.