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Endolymphatic space is age-dependent.

J Neurol. 2022 Oct 5. doi: 10.1007/s00415-022-11400-8. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36197569.

Authors/Editors: Dieterich M, Hergenroeder T, Boegle R, Gerb J, Kierig E, Stöcklein S, Kirsch V.
Publication Date: 2022

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Abstract

Knowledge of the physiological endolymphatic space (ELS) is necessary to estimate endolymphatic hydrops (ELH) in patients with vestibulocochlear syndromes. Therefore, the current study investigated age-dependent changes in the ELS of participants with normal vestibulocochlear testing. Sixty-four ears of 32 participants with normal vestibulocochlear testing aged between 21 and 75 years (45.8 ± 17.2 years, 20 females, 30 right-handed, two left-handed) were examined by intravenous delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of the inner ear (iMRI). Clinical diagnostics included neuro-otological assessment, video-oculography during caloric stimulation, and head-impulse test. iMRI data analysis provided semi-quantitative visual grading and automatic algorithmic quantitative segmentation of ELS volume (3D, mm3) using a deep learning-based segmentation of the inner ear's total fluid space (TFS) and volumetric local thresholding, as described earlier. As a result, following a 4-point ordinal scale, a mild ELH (grade 1) was found in 21/64 (32.8%) ears uni- or bilaterally in either cochlear, vestibulum, or both. Age and ELS were found to be positively correlated for the inner ear (r(64) = 0.33, p < 0.01), and vestibulum (r(64) = 0.25, p < 0.05). For the cochlea, the values correlated positively without reaching significance (r(64) = 0.21). In conclusion, age-dependent increases of the ELS should be considered when evaluating potential ELH in single subjects and statistical group comparisons.

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