Otitis media with effusion (OME) is characterized by the occurrence of fluid in the middle-ear cavity in the absence of any signs of acute ear infection and occurs most frequently in children with auditory or eustachian tube dysfunction. Its chronic form is an important clinical issue for pediatricians and otologists alike. The study by Depreux et al. in this issue of the JCI shows that absence of the transcriptional activator Eya4 in knockout mice results in abnormal structuring of the eustachian tube, thus predisposing these animals to OME (see the related article beginning on page 651). The development of this genetics-based animal model is an important advance for understanding OME and for exploring new avenues of treatment.
Evelyn Lazaridis, James C. Saunders