Autoimmunity and the immune complex disease associated with it have been hypothesized to be the cause of several idiopathic diseases of the inner ear- including the new bone formation associated with otic capsule osteogenesis and otosclerosis. The Palmerston North (PN) autoimmune mouse strain, which exhibits both spontaneous systemic autoimmune disease and otic capsule bone formation, has been proposed as a model relating these two disease processes. To investigate the potential role of immunopathologic processes in PN otic capsule lesion formation, inner ears from PN mice were immunostained for the presence of IgG and complement (C3), two immunologic markers involved in the development of the vascular and perivascular changes associated with immune complex deposition. Both systemic autoimmune disease and otic capsule bony lesions were confirmed in all animals. However, immunohistochemical analyses did not establish a direct relationship between the two conditions as complement was absent in all lesions and IgG stained positive in only one instance. These results suggest that immune complex deposition is not directly involved in the otic capsule lesions of the PN mouse, and alternate mechanisms relating autoimmune disease and otic capsule osteogenesis must be explored.
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