Scientists have discovered a compound that could help keep the ear safe from noise-related damage.
Xiaorui Shi, M.D., Ph.D., study author from the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, said that noise-induced hearing loss, with accompanying tinnitus and sound hypersensitivity is a common condition which leads to communication problems and social isolation.
Shi and colleagues used three groups of 6 - 8 week old mice, which consisted of a control group, a group exposed to broadband noise at 120 decibels for three hours a day for two days, and a third group given single-dose injections of pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) prior to noise exposure.
PEDF is a protein found in vertebrates that is currently being researched for the treatment of diseases like heart disease and cancer.
The cells that secrete PEDF in control animals showed a characteristic branched morphology, with the cells arranging in a self-avoidance pattern which provided good coverage of the capillary wall.
The morphology of the same cells in the animals exposed to wide-band noise, however, showed clear differences-noise exposure caused changes in melanocytes located in the inner ear.
The new research has been published in Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal.