Audiology in Brief Hearing loss from cochlear damage may be repaired by transplanting human umbilical cord hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), according to a study by Italian researchers that showed that a small number of HSC migrated to the damaged cochlea and repaired sensory hair cells and neurons. The researchers used mice with ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   December 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   December 01, 2008
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13172008.5
The ASHA Leader, December 2008, Vol. 13, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.13172008.5
Stem Cell Transplant May Restore Hearing
Hearing loss from cochlear damage may be repaired by transplanting human umbilical cord hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), according to a study by Italian researchers that showed that a small number of HSC migrated to the damaged cochlea and repaired sensory hair cells and neurons.
The researchers used mice with permanent hearing loss induced by ototoxic drugs, intense noise, or both. Cochlear regeneration occurred only in mice that received HSC transplants. Researchers used sensitive tracing methods to determine if the transplanted cells were capable of migrating to the cochlea and evaluated whether the cells could contribute to regenerating neurons and sensory tissue in the cochlea.
“Our findings show dramatic repair of damage with surprisingly few human-derived cells having migrated to the cochlea,” said Roberto P. Revoltella, lead author.
Less cochlear regeneration occurred when mice had been deafened by noise rather than by a chemical, implying that noise-induced hearing loss was more severe. Regenerative effects were greater in mice injected with a higher number of HSC, and cochlear tissue regeneration improved as time passed.
To read the study, visit Cell Transplantation Online (vol. 17, no. 6).
Vitamins, Minerals, and Hearing Loss Prevention
Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute (KHRI) are hoping to prevent noise-induced hearing loss with a combination of vitamins and magnesium. The combination, shown as successful in animals, is now being tested in clinical trials.
Study participants receive a pill with vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium. The otoprotective micronutrient supplement, called AuraQuell, blocked about 80% of noise-induced hearing loss in laboratory studies with guinea pigs, according to research in the May 1, 2007, issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine (vol. 42, no. 9).
AuraQuell is being tested in four multinational clinical trials: military trials in Sweden and Spain, an industrial trial in Spain, and a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded trial involving students at the University of Florida who listen to music at high volumes on their personal listening devices. This is the first NIH-funded clinical trial involving the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.
“If we can see even 50% of the effectiveness in humans that we saw in our animal trials, we will have an effective treatment that will significantly reduce noise-induced hearing loss. That would be a remarkable accomplishment,” said co-lead researcher Josef M. Miller, professor of communication disorders and director of the KHRI Center for Hearing Disorders.
Miller’s team includes colleagues at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where he also has an appointment; the University of Florida; and the University Castilla-La Mancha in Spain. Miller launched a University of Michigan start-up company that holds the license to develop the combination pill for human application. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health System Web site.
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December 2008
Volume 13, Issue 17