Friday, November 30, 2018
Researchers Identify Key Gene Associated with Age-Related Hearing Loss
Researchers have discovered the gene that acts as a key regulator for outer hair cell, the loss of which is the major cause of age-related hearing loss. (Nature. 2018 Nov;563(7733):696-700.) They identified Ikzf2 as an essential transcription factor in mice that is required for outer hair cell (OHC) functional maturation and hearing. Ikzf2 encodes the protein helios, found in postnatal mouse OHCs and when OHCs begins to mature, establishing that helios is a key component in OHC specification. The researchers also found that a mutation in Ikzf2 caused early-onset sensorineural hearing loss and significantly reduced electromotility, the ability of OHCs to amplify low-level sounds and function properly. Findings from this study will help researchers better understand this unique type of cell needed for hearing and potentially develop treatments for age-related hearing loss.