April 29, 2016 -- Anonymous
The aging process and exposure to noise are the most common causes of hearing loss in adults in Canada. The damage is to the outer hair cells inside the cochleae, the hearing organ, and it is irreversible.
Researcher Tatjana Piotrowski, Ph. D.from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research has been studying zebra fish in an attempt understand how their hair cells regenerate. Zebra fish have hair cells along the lateral line that are used to sense movement through the water. These hair are integral for the survival of the fish and have long been known to regenerate from surrounding support cells when the hair cells are damaged or when they die.
In the study, Piotrowski killed off the hair cells with the drug neomycin and then using a time-lapsed video watched how the support cells differentiated and grew into a new sensory organ called a neuromast. When the hair cells were regenerating, the researchers observed that half of the supporting cells would become hair cells and the other half would grow into more support cells. This means that there is always a group of support cells on standby prepared to become hair cells when needed.
This latest research provides insight on how outer hair cells in the human cochlea might be regenerated to restore hearing loss caused by the aging process or noise exposure.
Read the complete article at:http://www.stowers.org/media/news/jul-16-2015