Alport syndrome results from mutations in genes encoding collagen α3(IV), α4(IV), or α5(IV) and is characterized by progressive glomerular disease associated with a high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Earlier studies of a gene knockout mouse model for Alport syndrome noted thickening of strial capillary basement membranes in the cochlea, suggesting that the stria vascularis is the primary site of cochlear pathogenesis. Here we combine a novel cochlear mi-crodissection technique with molecular analyses to illustrate significant quantitative alterations in strial expression of mRNAs encoding matrix metalloproteinases-2, -9, -12, and -14. Gelatin zymography of extracts from the stria vascularis confirmed these findings. Treatment of Alport mice with a small molecule inhibitor of these matrix metalloproteinases exacerbated strial capillary basement membrane thickening, demonstrating that alterations in basement membrane metabolism result in matrix accumulation in the strial capillary basement membranes. This is the first demonstration of true quantitative analysis of specific mRNAs for matrix metalloproteinases in a cochlear microcompartment. Further, these data suggest that the altered basement membrane composition in Alport stria influences the expression of genes involved in basement membrane metabolism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine