Compound that prevents noise-related hearing loss found

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2013, 19:19 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have discovered a compound that may prevent noise-related hearing loss.

Researchers in mice studies have found exactly what type of damage noise does to the inner ear and provided insights into a compound that may prevent it.

"Noise-induced hearing loss, with accompanying tinnitus and sound hypersensitivity is a common condition which leads to communication problems and social isolation," said Xiaorui Shi, study author from the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon.

"The goal of our study is to understand the molecular mechanisms well enough to mitigate damage from exposure to loud sound," Shi said.

Shi and colleagues used three groups of 6-8 week old mice, which consisted of a control group, a group exposed to broadband noise at 120 decibels for three hours a day for two days, and a third group given single-dose injections of pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) prior to noise exposure.

PEDF is a protein found in vertebrates that is currently being researched for the treatment of diseases like heart disease and cancer.

The cells that secrete PEDF in control animals showed a characteristic branched morphology, with the cells arranging in a self-avoidance pattern which provided good coverage of the capillary wall.

The morphology of the same cells in the animals exposed to wide-band noise, however, showed clear differences - noise exposure caused changes in melanocytes located in the inner ear.

The study was published in FASEB Journal.