New findings indicate reversing hearing loss

17 July 2015

A new study has suggested that reversing hearing loss could be possible thanks to the identification of two signaling molecules.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found the two signaling molecules are required to make sure the cochlea develops properly.

Without either one of these signals, the embryo can not produce enough of the cells that become the cochlea, which results in impaired hearing.

The study, published in the journal eLife, provides further insight into how the inner ear develops and works.

In the latest study,  Dr David M. Ornitz, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Developmental Biology, found that normal mouse embryo's typical 20-day development. During the next three days, these two molecules direct the progenitor cells to multiply. 

According to the new study, the two signalling molecules -  FGF9 and FGF20 - direct signals to their receptors, which are located in nearby cells that surround the developing sensory cells. This promotes the growth of the sensory progenitor cells. 

"To eventually be able to restore hearing, we would like to be able to regenerate the sensory hair cells of the cochlea," said senior author Dr Ornitz.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

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