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Friday, October 19, 2018

A Cure for Hearing Loss on the Horizon

​Activation of the signaling pathway that regulates the differentiation of hair cells could represent a new approach to cochlear regeneration and potentially restore hearing, a new study found (Eur J Neurosci. 2018 Sep 30. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14183. [Epub ahead of print]). Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary hypothesized that signaling from the epidermal growth factor receptor family may play a role in cochlear regeneration. Specifically, they focused on a receptor called ERBB2, which is found in cochlear support cells. They found that activating the ERBB2 pathway triggered a cascading series of cellular events by which cochlear support cells began to proliferate and start the process of activating other neighboring stem cells to become new sensory hair cells. This process not only could impact the regeneration of sensory hair cells but also support their integration with nerve cells. The authors said their findings suggest a new model where an interplay of cell signaling regulates regeneration by endogenous stem-like cells.