Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a ubiquitous reactive oxygen species that can induce several inner ear disorders. In this study, we recorded the potassium (K) currents in acutely isolated inner hair cells of guinea pig cochlea, and investigated the effects of H2O2. We also observed the morphological changes in inner hair cells induced by H 2O2. In the H2O2 solutions, the amplitude of outward K currents (IK,f and IK,s) clearly decreased after perfusion for approximately 15 min. Despite the decrease in outward currents, small inward currents (IK,n) did not show any reduction. H2O2 induced morphological changes in the inner hair cells. All the inner hair cells in the H2O2 solutions showed shrinkage and granularity of the cell body and led to loss of viability. These results showed the vulnerability of inner hair cells to reactive oxygen species-induced inner ear disorders.
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