Washington: Scientists are exploring new avenues for restoring hearing loss in adults.Researchers have tracked a cell-to-cell signaling pathway that designates the future location of the ear’s sensory organs in embryonic mice. The scientists succeeded in activating this signal more widely across the embryonic tissue that becomes the inner ear. "As the population ages, there’s a great interest in discovering how to regenerate the inner ear sensory cells that we need for our hearing and balance,” said Olivia Bermingham- McDonogh of the University of Washington.“Both of these falter as we get older -- we get hard of hearing and unsteady on our feet -- due to accumulated destruction of the sensory cells in the inner ear,” she added.The goal of their research is to develop ways to restore inner ear sensory hair cells in people who have lost them due to age, excessive noise or other toxic damage.In order to devise a way to restart hair cell formation in the adult ear, Bermingham-McDonogh`s group studied how hair cells are made in the first place during ear development.
If ways could be found to safely re-start particular Notch signals in adults, therapies might be designed to regenerate specific tissues, like nerves, and thereby repair damage and restore lost function, like hearing.The findings are reported this week in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.ANI
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