Extremely loud noise can cause irreversible hearing loss by damaging sound sensing cells in the inner ear that are not replaced. But researchers reporting in the January 9 issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron have successfully regenerated these cells in mice with noise-induced deafness, partially reversing their hearing loss. The investigators hope the technique may lead to development of treatments to help individuals who suffer from acute hearing loss.
While birds and fish are capable of regenerating sound sensing hair cells in the inner ear, mammals are not. Scientists and clinicians alike have long wondered how they might reprogram humans' inner ear cells to allow hair cells to regenerate. While many methods have been tried, so far, none have been successful.
A team led by Dr. Albert Edge of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary speculated that a cellular pathway that controls hair cells' fate might be manipulated to regenerate the cells. Their previous research revealed that inhibition of the pathway, called Notch, increases hair cell differentiation.
In this latest work, the investigators found that new hair cells formed after inner ear stem cells were treated with a drug (called a gamma-secretase inhibitor) that blocks the Notch pathway. The researchers also used the drug to treat the inner ears of mice that had noise-induced deafness. "We show that hair cells can be regenerated from the surrounding cells in the cochlea. These cells, called supporting cells, transdifferentiate into hair cells after inhibition of the Notch signaling pathway, and the new hair cell generation results in a recovery of hearing in the region of the cochlea where the new hair cells appear," says Dr. Edge.
The results suggest that the therapy might be a promising treatment for acute noise-induced deafness in humans. "The significance of this study is that hearing loss is a huge problem affecting 250 million worldwide," says Dr. Edge.
Cell Press: http://www.cellpress.com
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
A riverside in Nebraska is a welcome refuelling stop for these elegant birds migrating from Mexico to their breeding grounds
Deprived of sight, blind people manage to squeeze an amazing amount of information out of their other senses. Doing this requires their brains to do some reorganizing. To learn about some of these changes, scientists studied the brains of blind people ...
In 1973, American soldiers on the Mekong River in Laos killed and hauled ashore a massive 24-foot ribbon of a fish. It was the “Queen of the Naga,” claimed a postcard still widely circulated in Southeast Asia with the above ...
Bald eagles have made a comeback. See life in the nest now during peak nesting season.
Photos capture a river otter attacking a gator in a Florida river. The otter then feasted, witnesses say.
The 10-meter long Torvosaurus weighed up to five tons.
Researchers say the key to fighting superbugs is individualized treatment plans, and a new nanochip might pave the way
Some farmers have long sworn by mellow tunes to boost Bessie's milk production. The science is hardly conclusive. But a study hints at what might top the barnyard playlist. (Psst: They liked R.E.M.)
Craig Venter, the U.S. scientist who raced the U.S. government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.
Dr Dave Hone: The Daohugou Fauna is rich in dinosaurs, lizards, pterosaurs, salamanders and mammalsDr Dave Hone