Tympanic membrane microstructure in experimental cholesteatoma

Charles G. Wright, Laura L. Bird, William L. Meyerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study assessed changes in tympanic membrane microstructure associated with cholesteatoma development following middle ear application of 50% propylene glycol in chinchillas. Although the epidermal layer of the tympanic membrane (TM) was destroyed immediately after propylene glycol application, the epidermal basal lamina remained intact and appeared to serve as a substrate for regrowth of epidermis over the TM. During the initial phase of epidermal repair (4 to 7 days after propylene glycol administration), pseudopodial processes from the epidermal cells occasionally penetrated the basal lamina; however, no migration of epidermis into the lamina propria occurred at that time. The basal lamina remained largely intact until about 2 weeks, when it became fragmented in some areas, so that sizable gaps appeared. Hyperplastic epidermal cells then migrated through the gaps into the rapidly proliferating connective tissue of the lamina propria. At 2 to 4 weeks, degenerative changes were observed in portions of the fibrous layer, which underwent phagocytosis by foreign body giant cells. This process created defects in the fibrous layer which permitted invasion of epidermis to the medial portion of the lamina propria. The epidermis subsequently reached the medial side of the TM in areas where there was incomplete repair of the mucosal layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


  • Chinchilla
  • Electron microscopy
  • Propylene glycol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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