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Principles of Calcite Dissolution in Human and Artificial Otoconia

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons126554

Buder,  Jana
Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons126692

Kniep,  Rüdiger
Rüdiger Kniep, Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Walther, L. E., Blödow, A., Buder, J., & Kniep, R. (2014). Principles of Calcite Dissolution in Human and Artificial Otoconia. PLoS One, 9(7): e102516, pp. 1-9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102516.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0023-C9FB-4
Abstract
Human otoconia provide mechanical stimuli to deflect hair cells of the vestibular sensory epithelium for purposes of detecting linear acceleration and head tilts. During lifetime, the volume and number of otoconia are gradually reduced. In a process of degeneration morphological changes occur. Structural changes in human otoconia are assumed to cause vertigo and balance disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The aim of this study was to investigate the main principles of morphological changes in human otoconia in dissolution experiments by exposure to hydrochloric acid, EDTA, demineralized water and completely purified water respectively. For comparison reasons artificial (biomimetic) otoconia (calcite gelatin nanocomposits) and natural calcite were used. Morphological changes were detected in time steps by the use of environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). Under in vitro conditions three main dissolution mechanisms were identified as causing characteristic morphological changes of the specimen under consideration: pH drops in the acidic range, complex formation with calcium ions and changes of ion concentrations in the vicinity of otoconia. Shifts in pH cause a more uniform reduction of otoconia size (isotropic dissolution) whereas complexation reactions and changes of the ionic concentrations within the surrounding medium bring about preferred attacks at specific areas (anisotropic dissolution) of human and artificial otoconia. Owing to successive reduction of material, all the dissolution mechanisms finally produce fragments and remnants of otoconia. It can be assumed that the organic component of otoconia is not significantly attacked under the given conditions. Artificial otoconia serve as a suitable model system mimicking chemical attacks on biogenic specimens. The underlying principles of calcite dissolution under in vitro conditions may play a role in otoconia degeneration processes such as BPPV.