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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Does the serological testing really play a role in the diagnosis immune-mediated inner ear disease?

In order to analyse the clinical presentation and laboratory tests used for the diagnosis of immune-mediated sensorineural hearing loss (IMSNHL) a prospective study was conducted involving 125 patients affected by diverse clinical forms of the disease. The following methods were used: analysis of clinical evolution, pure-tone audiometry, determination of the immunophenotype of peripheral blood lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, complement factors C3 and C4, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, antinuclear autoantibodies (ANA) and heat shock protein 70 and the response to therapy. Levels CD4 (p = 0.03) and CD4CD45RA (p = 0.002) T cells were significantly reduced in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. ANA were found in 34.4% of patients and the incidence of antibodies to HSP-70 was similar in both patients and control subjects. Diagnosis of IMSNHL is still based on clinical impressions as laboratory testing is not sufficiently diagnostic. However, the long-term evolution of IMSNHL presented by the patients included in this study may explain the negative results obtained in the tests. The existence of a typical profile patient, including the clinical course, immunological changes (presence of ANA and detection of abnormalities in T-cell subpopulations) and the response to steroid therapy can facilitate diagnosis. Further investigation to help identify a specific marker characteristic of IMSNHL is required.[1]


  1. Does the serological testing really play a role in the diagnosis immune-mediated inner ear disease? García Berrocal, J.R., Ramírez-Camacho, R., Vargas, J.A., Millan, I. Acta Otolaryngol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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