Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hearing loss clue uncovered

12.06.2013
A novel genetic mutation was first identified in 2010 as causing hearing loss in humans.

Researchers have now discovered that this mutation induces malfunction of an inhibitor of an enzyme commonly found in our body that destroys proteins. Published today in the American Journal of Pathology, this inhibitor is known scientifically as SERPINB6.

Dr Justin Tan of the University of Melbourne and lead author of the study said individuals who lack both copies of this good gene were reported to lose their hearing from 20 years of age.

"This is unusual because most people show gradual signs of age-related hearing loss from 60 years of age onwards but mutations in SERPINB6 accelerate this process. It is not yet clear how this mutation causes hearing loss."

Working with animal models induced with the condition, mice started to lose their hearing at three weeks of age, which is comparable to teenage years in humans. Hearing loss continued to worsen as the mice aged, a trend that was also noticed in humans. When the inner ears of these mice were examined under the microscope, the Melbourne team uncovered that tiny, specialised cells in the inner ear, responsible for hearing, had died.

These cells include, not only the sensory hair cells that detect sound vibrations, but also neighbouring cells that belong to a group of cells called fibrocytes.

Both types of cells are required to transform sound into electrical signals in our hearing nerve. Mutations affecting the sensory hair cells have been known for decades to cause hearing loss in humans but mutations affecting the fibrocytes remain uncommon.

"This is an exciting discovery for our hearing because the role of SERPINB6 as an inhibitor is now being unraveled," said Dr Tan.

Anne Rahilly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unimelb.edu.au

Further reports about: hair cells hearing hearing loss inner ear sensory hair cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>