Physiological, anatomical, and behavioral changes after acoustic trauma in Drosophila melanogaster

Kevin W. Christie, Elena Sivan-Loukianova, Wesley C. Smith, Benjamin T. Aldrich, Michael A. Schon, Madhuparna Roy, Bridget C Lear, Daniel F. Eberl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a growing health issue, with costly treatment and lost quality of life. Here we establish Drosophila melanogaster as an inexpensive, flexible, and powerful genetic model system for NIHL. We exposed flies to acoustic trauma and quantified physiological and anatomical effects. Trauma significantly reduced sound-evoked potential (SEP) amplitudes and increased SEP latencies in control genotypes. SEP amplitude but not latency effects recovered after 7 d. Although trauma produced no gross morphological changes in the auditory organ (Johnston's organ), mitochondrial cross-sectional area was reduced 7 d after exposure. In nervana 3 heterozygous flies, which slightly compromise ion homeostasis, trauma had exaggerated effects on SEP amplitude and mitochondrial morphology, suggesting a key role for ion homeostasis in resistance to acoustic trauma. Thus, Drosophila exhibit acoustic trauma effects resembling those found in vertebrates, including inducing metabolic stress in sensory cells. This report of noise trauma in Drosophila is a foundation for studying molecular and genetic sequelae of NIHL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15449-15454
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
StatePublished - Oct 17 2013


  • Auditory courtship behavior
  • Locomotion
  • Mitochondria
  • Na/K ATPase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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