Electrode insertion during cochlear implantation causes cochlear damage and apoptosis. Insulin-like growth factor applied locally was investigated in 21 rats.
In the sham group, an intracochlear dummy electrode was inserted through the round window. In the control group, after the same insertion procedure, saline-soaked porcine skin gelatine was placed on the round window. In the study group, insulin-like growth factor 1 soaked gelatine was placed on the round window. Auditory brainstem response thresholds were measured and histopathological examination was performed.
In the study group, at 2–4 kHz, one rat had deterioration, one showed improvement and the rest had stable thresholds 14 days after intervention. At 6 kHz, four rats showed improvement and the rest remained stable. At 8 kHz, four showed improvement, one had deterioration and two remained stable. In the other groups, hearing loss deteriorated in about half of the rats and remained stable in the rest. The mean post-operative 6 kHz threshold was significantly lower than that immediately after the intervention in the study group, contrary to the other groups. The study group had significantly better mean histopathological grading than the other groups.
Local insulin-like growth factor 1 application may protect hearing after cochlear implantation.