Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers find environmental toxins disruptive to hearing in mammals

Yale School of Medicine researchers have new data showing chloride ions are critical to hearing in mammals, which builds on previous research showing a chemical used to keep barnacles off boats might disrupt the balance of these ions in ear cells.

"Our data are the first to directly show that chloride ions are crucial for our exquisite sense of hearing," said Joseph Santos-Sacchi, professor in the Departments of Surgery and Neurobiology and first author of the study in the Journal of Neuroscience. "These data also indicate that the hearing in marine and other mammals could be affected by environmental toxins, such as TBT (tributyl tin), because they appear to alter the balance of chloride ions in the outer hair cell."

Sensitive hearing in mammals relies on cochlear amplification resulting from the motor activity of outer hair cells. They are the only group of animals that have outer hair cells. Additionally, TBT is known to damage the immune and hormonal systems of marine mammals.

In this study on guinea pigs, Santos-Sacchi tested whether TBT or salicylate, which is a chemical that occurs naturally in plants and is a component of aspirin, interfered with the guinea pigs’ ability to hear. He found that TBT, salicylate, or otherwise altering the extracellular chloride levels in the cochleas, interfered with the balance of chloride in the outer hair cells and caused profound changes in sound amplification in the inner ear.

In his previous study using TBT on isolated cells only, Santos-Sacchi had proposed that the ear’s ability to perceive sound would be compromised. He also speculated that whales and other marine mammals exposed to TBT would have altered sound localization abilities. The present findings confirm that their hearing is altered in mammals.

"Since many marine mammals use echolocation or sonar to get around, this could be contributing to whales and dolphins beaching and hitting ships," Santos-Sacchi said.

Jacqueline Weaver | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>