Chemical May Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Researchers have found a way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in a mouse using a simple chemical compound that is a precursor to vitamin B3. This discovery from the University of North Carolina’s Weill Cornell Medical College and the Gladstone Institutes, published in Cell Metabolism, holds implications for preventing hearing ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   February 01, 2015
Chemical May Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
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Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   February 01, 2015
Chemical May Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 17. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB5.20022015.17
The ASHA Leader, February 2015, Vol. 20, 17. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB5.20022015.17
Researchers have found a way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in a mouse using a simple chemical compound that is a precursor to vitamin B3. This discovery from the University of North Carolina’s Weill Cornell Medical College and the Gladstone Institutes, published in Cell Metabolism, holds implications for preventing hearing loss and for treating some aging-related conditions linked to the same protein.
Led by Kevin Brown, an associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the researchers used the chemical nicotinamide riboside to protect the nerves used to transmit sound information from the cochlea to the spiral ganglion, which then passes those messages to the brain. Exposure to loud noises damages the synapses connecting the nerves and the hair cells in the cochlea, resulting in noise-induced hearing loss.
The researchers gave mice NR before or after exposing them to loud noises. NR was successful at preventing damage to the synaptic connections and avoiding both short-term and long-term hearing loss—regardless of whether it was given before or after the noise exposure. NR can be taken orally and readily enters cells.
The researchers think the results may have broader applications beyond preventing hearing loss because of the way NR protects nerve cells: It increases the activity of SIRT3, a protein critical to the function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. This enhanced SIRT3 may be the reason for the protective properties of NR. To test this, they deleted the SIRT3 gene in mice, which abolished the NR protective properties. SIRT3 decreases naturally with age, which could partially explain aging-related hearing loss. These results suggest that using NR could be a viable target for treating a variety of aging-related disorders in addition to hearing loss, including metabolic syndromes associated with obesity, pulmonary hypertension and diabetes.
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February 2015
Volume 20, Issue 2