To investigate steroids for their potential for therapeutic approaches to control otitis media. Glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids have differential effects on inflammation and fluid absorption, but little is known of their control of middle and inner ear manifestations of acute otitis media.
Both glucocorticoid (prednisolone and dexamethasone) and mineralocorticoid (aldosterone and fludrocortisone) steroids were investigated for their ability to reduce inflammatory symptoms in a mouse otitis media model.
Academic medical center.
Acute inflammation was induced by transtympanic injection of heat killed Streptococcus pneumoniae to 100 BALB/c mice.
Twenty mice in each experimental group (prednisolone, dexamethasone, aldosterone, and fludrocortisone) were given a steroid in their drinking water the day before inoculation, and these treatments were continued until the mice were killed for histologic examination. Twenty control mice were treated with water only.
Main Outcome Measures
Histologic measure of inflammation: middle ear fluid, inflammatory cell number, and tympanic membrane thickness.
Histologic middle ear morphometrics showed significant steroid effects at both 3 and 5 days in reduction of fluid area, cell number, and tympanic membrane thickness.
Glucocorticoids were most effective in controlling inflammation. Interestingly, the mineralocorticoids were also effective in reducing the inflammatory response at 5 days, suggesting that their fluid transport function helped clear disease. Thus, steroid control of middle ear disease may be useful in alleviating symptoms faster and reducing the risk to the inner ear.