Newly formed disorganized bone fills the open spaces within the otic capsule in various pathologic conditions, resulting in labyrinthitis ossificans. The pathologic mechanisms of this disease remain poorly understood. To better study the sequence of events and contributing mechanisms involved in labyrinthitis ossificans, an animal model was developed. Three groups of Mongolian gerbils received either an intralabyrinthine injection of normal saline solution (group 1) or Streptococcus pneumoniae polysaccharide capsule antigens (groups 2 and 3). The temporal bones were harvested after 3 months and serially sectioned. None of the eight control animals (group 1), which received intralabyrinthine injections of normal saline solution had any histologic changes in their temporal bones. Nine of the surviving 19 animals in groups 2 and 3 had fibrosis or evidence of early ossffication. A fourth group of Mongolian gerbils received two intrathecal injections of live S. pneumoniae organisms. The temporal bones were harvested after 3 months and serially sectioned. Fourteen of the surviving 15 animals had fibrosis or ossification or both. This animal model will provide a method for study of the mechanisms of labyrinthitis ossificans.
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