Chronic placental insufficiency has long-term effects on auditory function in the guinea pig Academic Article uri icon


  • Very low birth weight and growth-restricted infants have an increased risk of auditory impairments. It is uncertain whether these impairments are related to adverse pre-, peri- or postnatal events. We aimed to determine whether a period of chronic placental insufficiency (CPI) in the guinea pig results in long-term alterations to auditory function. Near mid-gestation, CPI was induced via unilateral ligation of the uterine artery. At 8 weeks of age, auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were recorded in response to unilateral acoustic stimulation in prenatally-compromised (PC, n=8) and control animals (n=8). Stimuli consisted of 100 micros clicks, presented at 33 pulses per second (pps) and tone pip stimuli at frequencies of 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 kHz. To examine temporal response properties, click stimuli were also presented at rates of 66, 132 and 200 pps. Normal ABR waveforms were elicited by both click and tone pip stimuli in all animals. Moreover, there was no difference between control and PC animals in stimulus detection thresholds across the frequencies examined. Using high rate click stimuli, PC animals demonstrated a significant increase in both the latency of wave III (normalised to 33 pps) and the wave I-III inter-peak interval compared to the controls. We hypothesise that these functional changes reflect alterations in myelination of the auditory brainstem and/or changes in synaptic efficacy. The results suggest subtle deficits in neural conduction in the PC guinea pig at maturity, and may have implications for speech perception abilities of low birth weight or prenatally affected infants.


  • Rehn, Alexandra E
  • Loeliger, Michelle
  • Hardie, Natalie A
  • Rees, Sandra M
  • Dieni, Sandra
  • Shepherd, Robert K

publication date

  • April 2002

has subject area