An animal model for external ear canal inflammation

Charles G. Wright, Karen S. Pawlowski, Peter S. Roland, William L. Meyerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop an animal model for testing efficacy of anti- inflammatory drugs designed to treat external ear canal (EAC) disease. Methods: Histological and morphometric methods were used to characterize EAC inflammation produced by topical application of tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) in mice. The effects of both single and repeated TPA applications were studied. A treatment trial was performed to evaluate the effects of a ciprofloxacin/hydrocortisone suspension on TPA-induced EAC inflammation. In 10 animals, two bilateral applications of TPA were made, spaced 24 hours apart. Immediately after the second TPA application, otic suspension was applied unilaterally four times over a 48-hour period. The contralateral EACs were left untreated to provide TPA-only controls. Results: Twenty-four hours after a single TPA application, EAC skin showed polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocyte infiltration, vascular dilation, and thickening of the dermis and epidermis. Dermal and epidermal thickening were more pronounced after two TPA applications and PMN leukocyte infiltration remained high 48 hours after a second TPA placement. After treatment with the otic suspension, PMN leukocyte counts were reduced by an average of 76% relative to EACs that received TPA only. There was also statistically significant reduction of dermal swelling and a trend toward reduced epidermal thickness. Vascular dilation was clearly reduced as well. EACs that received four applications of the suspension alone showed no adverse effects compared with those that received saline. Conclusion: TPA-induced inflammation of the mouse EAC provides a suitable model for testing the therapeutic efficacy of anti-inflammatory agents being considered for clinical use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1118
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000


  • Anti-inflammatory agents
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Mouse
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol acetate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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