Listen Up


Hearing and balance have been successfully restored in a group of genetically-deaf mice. This type of hearing loss occurs in animals with a malfunctioning SLC26A4 gene. Mutation of this gene is one of the most common causes of hereditary deafness in humans, too. When this gene does not express itself, endolymphatic sac in an animal’s inner ear swells during embryonic development. This restricts proper development of sensory parts of the ear, like cochlea, causing permanent deafness and loss of balance. The study shows that a therapy aimed at repairing the endolymphatic sac during embryonic development is sufficient to restore a lifetime of normal hearing and balance. 


Down To Earth, August 2013