There are some kinds of sicknesses provoked by inadequate adaptation to physical and/or psychogenic stress in daily life. Delayed endolymphatic hydrops (DEH) is an inner ear disease like Ménière's disease (MD) characterized by episodic vertigo in the setting of preexisting unilateral deafness that especially occurs in civilized people with a stressful lifestyle. Its otopathologic finding was demonstrated to be inner ear endolymphatic hydrops through a temporal bone study in 1976, as in the case with MD in 1938. To elucidate the relationship between stress and the inner ear, we examined the plasma antidiuretic stress hormone vasopressin (pAVP) and its type 2 receptor (V2R) expression in the endolymphatic sac in patients with DEH.
A prospective molecular biological study.
Between 1998 and 2007, we enrolled 20 patients with ipsilateral DEH to examine their pAVP during remission from vertigo attacks. Plasma vasopressin was also examined in 87 patients with unilateral MD and 30 control patients with chronic otitis media. Using the real-time polymerase chain reaction method with tissue samples obtained during surgery, we examined V2R mRNA expression in the endolymphatic sac in 6 patients with ipsilateral DEH, 9 patients with unilateral MD, and 6 control patients with acoustic neuroma.
Plasma vasopressin (1.5 times versus controls; unpaired t test, p = 0.140) and V2R mRNA expression in the endolymphatic sac (35.8 times versus controls; unpaired t test, p = 0.002) were higher in patients with DEH compared with those with acoustic neuroma. There were no significant differences in pAVP or V2R expression in the endolymphatic sac between DEH and MD. Patients with DEH showed a significantly negative correlation between pAVP and V2R (Pearson test, r = −0.92, p = 0.009) as in those with MD (Pearson test, r = −0.68, p = 0.043).
Civilized people are frequently exposed to stress in their daily life, and pAVP can easily become elevated at any time. Therefore, a negative feedback system between pAVP and V2R in the endolymphatic sac may function for inner ear fluid homeostasis against stress-induced increases in pAVP. For the pathogenesis of endolymphatic hydrops resulting in vertigo attacks in patients with DEH as well as MD, pAVP may represent a matter of consequence, but V2R overexpression in the endolymphatic sac could be much more essential as a basis for these diseases.