Newly Found Master Gene That Programs Ear Cells May Help To Reverse Hearing Loss

Aug, 2022 - By SMI

Newly Found Master Gene That Programs Ear Cells May Help To Reverse Hearing Loss

Researchers found a gene that is type of a master switch for ear cell differentiation could help to develop new ways to treat hearing loss by reversing it

A team of researchers at Northwestern University explored the mechanism behind deafness and found a gene that is like a master switch for cell differentiation in ears could help to develop new ways to treat hearing loss. According to the research published in the journal Nature on May 04, 2022, the finding of this research overcame a major problem in this field and it created a base for treatments to prevent irreversible hearing loss causing function.

In this new research, the scientists studied ear hair cells that are sensory cells lining the inner ear and are important for hearing sense in humans. Death of or damage to these cells caused due to stresses and aging results into irreversible damage of hearing. The researchers studied different roles of outer and inner hair cells in hearing and the team focused on the gene that regulates the creation of these hair cells. The outer hair cells in the ear contract and expand as they face sound waves and amplify the sound for inner hair cells that pass these vibrations on neurons for creating sound. After conducting experiments on mice, the researchers found a gene called TBX2, programs ear hair cells and when this gene was expressed in mice the ear hair cells became inner hair cell. Moreover, when this gene was blocked the cells became an outer hair cell.

Furthermore, in previous research, scientists showed that artificial hair cells can be generated; however, these artificial hair cells cannot differentiate them into outer and inner cells. The findings of this research now could help the scientists to develop a mixture of gene to reprogram other cells that provide structural support and are latticed in hair cells in the ear.

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