Dr. William Brownell, professor of otolaryngology at BCM and his colleagues, said that the amount of cholesterol in the outer hair cell membrane found in the inner ear can affect hearing.
“We’ve known for a long time that cholesterol is lower in the outer hair cell membranes than in the other cells of the body,” said Brownell, senior author of the report “What we didn’t know was the relationship it had to hearing.”
Dr. Lavanya Rajagopalan, postdoctoral fellow in otolaryngology at BCM, led the research team that manipulated the cholesterol levels in outer hair cells of mice. She and her colleagues measured the mice’s hearing ability by a technique that uses inaudible sound waves emitted from the ear as it reacts to external sound. There are two types of sensory hair cells in the inner ear called the inner and outer hair cells. It is the outer hair cells that are affected by cholesterol levels and produce the inaudible sounds in the ear canal.
“Depleting the cholesterol resulted in a hearing loss. Adding cholesterol initially increased hearing but later resulted in a hearing loss,” Brownell said. “So you can change an animals hearing just by adding or subtracting cholesterol.”
The fine tuning of the cholesterol happens naturally in development and does not change significantly after birth. In contrast, cholesterol in the bloodstream can vary with eating habits. That is why avoiding fatty foods can promote a healthy heart.
“Will our hearing be affected if we continually eat greasy meals" Right now, we don’t see a connection between the two,” Brownell said. “The results of the study help us understand the cellular mechanisms for regulating hearing and give us another way to potentially help those with hearing loss.”
Graciela Gutierrez | EurekAlert!
Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences