A new step towards the understanding of hearing

February 18, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—The results published in Nature Communications enables us to consider eventual therapeutic strategies to restore the sensorial innervation of the cochlea, an organ essential to hearing.

A GIGA-Neurosciences (University of Liège) team led by Dr Brigitte Malgrange and Jean Defourny has just identified several key proteins which intercede in the refinement of cochlear innervation. In the study published in Nature Communications the researchers show in particular that the aphrin-15 protein and its EphA4 receptor have complementary expression in the cochlea of developing mice, compatible with a role in the establishment of between and auditory neurones. The analysis of mice for which one or the other of these two proteins has been rendered inoperative shows major innervation flaws leading to a totally disrupted hearing capacity. The researchers have also identified intercellular cascades leading to this defective innervation and involving proteins such as ephexin, cofilin and type II myosin light chain kinase.

'Thus, for the first time, we have identified the molecular actors in the refinement of cochlear innervations, necessary for optimal hearing,' states Brigitte Malgrang.

The auditory part of the – the – is a very complex organism in which we find the organ of Corti, primarily made up of sensory cells connected to the spiral ganglion neurones, these neurones constituting the first relay station for the transmission of sound to the . Under the influence of numerous molecular signals – about which more is known following the results obtained by the ULg's GIGA-Neurosciences Unit – the development of the auditory system within vertebrates begins by the formation of the optic vesicle which will give birth to the sensory cells and spiral ganglion neurones. For functional hearing the fibres of the spiral ganglion's auditory neurones must be connected very precisely to sensory cells.

Explore further: Sensory hair cells regenerated, hearing restored in mammal ear

More information: Nature Communications, 05/02/2013. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2445

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Formaldehyde damages proteins, not just DNA

September 29, 2016

The capacity of formaldehyde, a chemical frequently used in manufactured goods such as automotive parts and wood products, to damage DNA, interfere with cell replication and cause cancer inspired new federal regulations this ...

Synthetic 3D-printed material helps bones regrow

September 28, 2016

A cheap and easy to make synthetic bone material has been shown to stimulate new bone growth when implanted in the spines of rats and a monkey's skull, researchers said Wednesday.

Epigenetic clock predicts life expectancy

September 28, 2016

UCLA geneticist Steve Horvath led a team of 65 scientists in seven countries to record age-related changes to human DNA, calculate biological age and estimate a person's lifespan. A higher biological age—regardless of chronological ...

Engineered blood vessels grow in lambs

September 27, 2016

In a hopeful development for children born with congenital heart defects, scientists said Tuesday they had built artificial blood vessels which grew unaided when implanted into lambs, right into adulthood.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.