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New findings hint toward reversing hearing loss

Unlike birds and amphibians, mammals can’t recover lost hearing. In people, the cells of the inner ear responsible for detecting sound and transmitting those signals to the brain form during early stages of development and can’t be replaced if lost due to illness, injury or aging.

New Findings Hint toward Reversing Hearing Loss
Unlike birds and amphibians, mammals can’t recover lost hearing. In people, the cells of the inner ear responsible for detecting sound and transmitting those signals to the brain form during early stages of development and can’t be replaced if lost due to illness, injury or aging. Studying mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine? in St. Louis have identified two signaling molecules that are required for the proper development of a part of the inner ear called the cochlea. A normal mouse cochlea shows a characteristic spiral shape (above). Without both signals, the embryo does not produce enough of the cells that eventually make up the adult cochlea, resulting in a shortened cochlear duct and impaired hearing.
Credit: Sung-Ho Huh


Source

This work was supported by the Action on Hearing Loss Foundation; the Office of Naval Research, grant number N000141211025; the March of Dimes Foundation; the Hearing Health Foundation; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant numbers K99 DC012825, P30 DC004665, P30 DK052574 and P30 AR057235.

Huh SH, Warchol ME, Ornitz DM. Cochlear progenitor number is controlled through mesenchymal FGF receptor signaling. eLife. Online April 27, 2015.

Washington University School of Medicine