Who nose how mice get their hearing back?
February 11, 2011.
Researchers found mice with the nasal stem cells scored significantly better in hearing tests compared to mice without the cells.Australian scientists have been able to restore hearing in mice using nasal stem cells.
The research has found mucosa-derived nasal stem cells can help preserve hearing function in early-onset hearing loss.Such early-onset hearing loss is most commonly due to genetic causes and is caused by the loss of sensory cells or neurons in the cochlea.
Nasal stem cells were injected into the cochlea of mice with symptoms of hearing loss and hearing levels were then examined. They found those mice with the stem cells scored significantly better in hearing tests compared to mice without the cells.
Lead researcher Dr Sharon Oleskevich from the University of New South Wales Hearing Research Group says the results are significant. "The cells can be easily obtained from the nasal cavity, making this transplantation a potential treatment for other human conditions like Parkinson's disease and cardiac infarction," she said.
She says the results demonstrate a beneficial effect of the nasal stem cells. "Analysis revealed that transplanted stem cells survived within the cochlea but did not integrate into host tissues, suggesting that chemical signalling may mediate the observed preservation of hearing levels," she said.
Researchers say it is important to find new treatments for early-onset hearing loss as hearing impairments during infancy and childhood can lead to problems with speech and language and hinder cognitive development.
The results have been published in the journal Stem Cells.
Source: ABC News, by medical reporter Sophie Scott