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In Journal of neurology

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.

Dieterich Marianne, Hergenroeder Tatjana, Boegle Rainer, Gerb Johannes, Kierig Emilie, Stöcklein Sophia, Kirsch Valerie


Asymmetry, Endolymphatic hydrops, Endolymphatic space, Healthy controls, Inner ear, MRI