Recently, it has been suggested that otosclerosis represents the host's ongoing immunologic response to measles or other viral antigens. Documentation of past inflammation within the inner ear would serve as further evidence that this mechanism may be at play in the pathogenesis of the disease. Among the characteristic signs of prior inflammation in the inner ear is the presence of lamellar bone at the site of inflammation. This has been described in the temporal bone of a patient with immunemediated deafness and with the temporal bones of experimental models of immunemediated inner ear disease. Review of temporal bones with round window otosclerosis from the Eastern Temporal Bone Bank at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary show that in four of ten cases there are characteristic signs of a prior severe inflammatory event centered in the scala tympani adjacent to the otosclerotic lesion. Otosclerosis, therefore, may have an inflammatory stage that is the consequence of a host response to an inciting event.
© 1993, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.