ABSTRACT: Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss (ARHL), occurs in most mammals with variations in the age of onset, rate of decline, and magnitude of degeneration in the central nervous system and inner ear. The affected cochlear structures include the stria vascularis and its vasculature, spiral ligament, sensory hair cells and auditory neurons. Dysfunction of the stria vascularis results in a reduced endocochlear potential. Without this potential, the cochlear amplification provided by the electro-motility of the outer hair cells is insufficient, and a high-frequency hearing-loss results. Degeneration of the sensory cells, especially the outer hair cells also leads to hearing loss due to lack of amplification. Neuronal degeneration, another hallmark of ARHL, most likely underlies difficulties with speech discrimination, especially in noisy environments. Noise exposure is a major cause of ARHL. It is well-known to cause sensory cell degeneration, especially the outer hair cells at the high frequency end of the cochlea. Even loud, but not uncomfortable, sound levels can lead to synaptopathy and ultimately neuronal degeneration. Even in the absence of a noisy environment, aged cells degenerate. This pathology most likely results from damage to mitochondria and contributes to degenerative changes in the stria vascularis, hair cells, and neurons. The genetic underpinnings of ARHL are still unknown and most likely involve various combinations of genes. At present, the only effective strategy for reducing ARHL is prevention of noise exposure. If future strategies can improve mitochondrial activity and reduce oxidative damage in old age, these should also bring relief.
Project description:Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is the most prevalent sensory deficit in the elderly and constitutes the third highest risk factor for dementia. Lifetime noise exposure, genetic predispositions for degeneration, and metabolic stress are assumed to be the major causes of ARHL. Both noise-induced and hereditary progressive hearing have been linked to decreased cell surface expression and impaired conductance of the potassium ion channel K<sub>V</sub>7.4 (KCNQ4) in outer hair cells, inspiring future therapies to maintain or prevent the decline of potassium ion channel surface expression to reduce ARHL. In concert with K<sub>V</sub>7.4 in outer hair cells, K<sub>V</sub>7.1 (KCNQ1) in the stria vascularis, calcium-activated potassium channels BK (KCNMA1) and SK2 (KCNN2) in hair cells and efferent fiber synapses, and K<sub>V</sub>3.1 (KCNC1) in the spiral ganglia and ascending auditory circuits share an upregulated expression or subcellular targeting during final differentiation at hearing onset. They also share a distinctive fragility for noise exposure and age-dependent shortfalls in energy supply required for sustained surface expression. Here, we review and discuss the possible contribution of select potassium ion channels in the cochlea and auditory pathway to ARHL. We postulate genes, proteins, or modulators that contribute to sustained ion currents or proper surface expressions of potassium channels under challenging conditions as key for future therapies of ARHL.
Project description:Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is the most common sensory deficit in aging society, which is accompanied by increased speech discrimination difficulties in noisy environments, social isolation, and cognitive decline. The audiometric degree of ARHL is largely correlated with sensory hair cell loss in addition to age-related factors not captured by histopathological analysis of the human cochlea. Previous studies have identified the senescence-accelerated mouse prone strain 8 (SAMP8) as a model for studying ARHL and age-related modifications of the cochlear redox environment. However, the SAMP8 population exhibits a large variability in auditory function decline over age, whose underlying cause remains unknown. In this study, we analyzed auditory function of SAMP8 mice by measuring auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds at the age of 6 weeks (juvenile), 12 weeks (young adult), and 24 weeks (adult). Consistent with previous studies, SAMP8 mice exhibit an early progressive, age-related decline of hearing acuity. However, a spatiotemporal cytohistological analysis showed that the significant increase in threshold variability was not concurrently reflected in outer hair cell (OHC) loss observed in the lower and upper quartiles of the ABR threshold distributions over age. This functional loss was found to precede OHC loss suggesting that age-related phenotypic changes may be contributing factors not represented in cytohistological analysis. The expression of potassium channels KCNQ4 (K<sub>V</sub>7.4), which mediates the current I<sub>K,n</sub> crucial for the maintenance of OHC membrane potential, and KCNQ1 (K<sub>V</sub>7.1), which is an essential component in potassium circulation and secretion into the endolymph generating the endocochlear potential, showed differences between these quartiles and age groups. This suggests that phenotypic changes in OHCs or the stria vascularis due to variable oxidative deficiencies in individual mice may be predictors of the observed threshold variability in SAMP8 mice and their progressive ARHL. In future studies, further phenotypic predictors affected by accumulated metabolic challenges over age need to be investigated as potentially underlying causes of ARHL preceding irreversible OHC loss in the SAMP8 mouse model.
Project description:Age-related hearing loss is a very common sensory disability, affecting one in three older adults. Establishing a link between anatomical, physiological, and behavioral markers of presbycusis in a mouse model can improve the understanding of this disorder in humans. We measured age-related hearing loss for a variety of acoustic signals in quiet and noisy environments using an operant conditioning procedure and investigated the status of peripheral structures in CBA/CaJ mice. Mice showed the greatest degree of hearing loss in the last third of their lifespan, with higher thresholds in noisy than in quiet conditions. Changes in auditory brainstem response thresholds and waveform morphology preceded behavioral hearing loss onset. Loss of hair cells, auditory nerve fibers, and signs of stria vascularis degeneration were observed in old mice. The present work underscores the difficulty in ascribing the primary cause of age-related hearing loss to any particular type of cellular degeneration. Revealing these complex structure-function relationships is critical for establishing successful intervention strategies to restore hearing or prevent presbycusis.
Project description:Audiometric hearing deficits are a common symptom of age-related hearing loss (ARHL), as are specific histopathological changes in the cochlea; however, very little data have been collected in non-human primates. To examine this relationship further, we collected auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) from rhesus monkeys spanning in age from 10 to 35 years old, and examined four different morphological features of their cochleae. We found significant correlations between ABR thresholds and the loss of outer hair cells and spiral ganglion cells, but not with the loss of inner hair cells or a reduced thickness of the stria vascularis. The strongest correlation with ABR thresholds was the number of different pathologies present. These findings show that while aged rhesus monkeys experience audiometric hearing deficits similar to that seen in humans, they are not correlated with a single peripheral deficit, but instead with a number of different underlying cochlear histopathologies, indicating that similar histopathologies may exist in geriatric humans as well.
Project description:We hypothesized that, in archived human temporal bone samples from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a pathologic condition exists in the stria vascularis and cochlear hair cells.Sensorineural hearing loss is a common feature in SLE patients. However, the pathophysiologic mechanism of cochlear dysfunction is unclear.We examined 15 temporal bone samples from 8 SLE patients, along with 17 samples from 10 age-matched healthy control patients. The samples were serially sectioned in the horizontal plane and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. We determined the area of the stria vascularis in a midmodiolar section of each cochlear turn. Then, we made cytocochleograms and calculated the percentage of missing inner and outer hair cells.The area of the stria vascularis in our SLE group was significantly smaller than in our control group. The number of remaining inner hair cells in our SLE group was smaller than in our control group; however, the difference did not reach statistical significance. The loss of outer hair cells in our SLE group was significantly higher than in our control group. There was a tendency toward a positive correlation between the loss of cochlear hair cells and the duration of SLE.The stria vascularis and cochlear hair cells are affected in SLE patients. Our findings could provide the histopathologic basis for the cochlear dysfunction, including sensorineural hearing loss, experienced by SLE patients.
Project description:Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is an irreversible, progressive neurodegenerative disorder and is presently untreatable. Previous studies using animal models have suggested mitochondrial damage and programmed cell death to be involved with ARHL. Thus, we further investigated the pathophysiologic role of mitochondria and necroptosis in aged C57BL/6J male mice. Aged mice (20 months old) exhibited a significant loss of hearing, number of hair cells, neuronal fibers, and synaptic ribbons compared to young mice. Ultrastructural analysis of aged cochleae revealed damaged mitochondria with absent or disorganized cristae. Aged mice also showed significant decrease in cochlear blood flow, and exhibited increase in gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1?, IL-6, and TNF-?), receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 and 3 (RIPK1 and RIPK3) and the pseudokinase mixed-lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL). Immunofluorescence (IF) assays of cytochrome C oxidase I (COX1) confirmed mitochondrial dysfunction in aged cochleae, which correlated with the degree of mitochondrial morphological damage. IF assays also revealed localization and increased expression of RIPK3 in sensorineural tissues that underwent significant necroptosis (inner and outer hair cells and stria vascularis). Together, our data shows that the aging cochlea exhibits damaged mitochondria, enhanced synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines, and provides new evidence of necroptosis in the aging cochlea in in vivo.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinase, MAP3K1, plays an important role in a number of cellular processes, including epithelial migration during eye organogenesis. In addition, studies in keratinocytes indicate that MAP3K1 signalling through JNK is important for actin stress fibre formation and cell migration. However, MAP3K1 can also act independently of JNK in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. We have identified a mouse mutant, goya, which exhibits the eyes-open-at-birth and microphthalmia phenotypes. In addition, these mice also have hearing loss. The goya mice carry a splice site mutation in the Map3k1 gene. We show that goya and kinase-deficient Map3k1 homozygotes initially develop supernumerary cochlear outer hair cells (OHCs) that subsequently degenerate, and a progressive profound hearing loss is observed by 9 weeks of age. Heterozygote mice also develop supernumerary OHCs, but no cellular degeneration or hearing loss is observed. MAP3K1 is expressed in a number of inner-ear cell types, including outer and inner hair cells, stria vascularis and spiral ganglion. Investigation of targets downstream of MAP3K1 identified an increase in p38 phosphorylation (Thr180/Tyr182) in multiple cochlear tissues. We also show that the extra OHCs do not arise from aberrant control of proliferation via p27KIP1. The identification of the goya mutant reveals a signalling molecule involved with hair-cell development and survival. Mammalian hair cells do not have the ability to regenerate after damage, which can lead to irreversible sensorineural hearing loss. Given the observed goya phenotype, and the many diverse cellular processes that MAP3K1 is known to act upon, further investigation of this model might help to elaborate upon the mechanisms underlying sensory hair cell specification, and pathways important for their survival. In addition, MAP3K1 is revealed as a new candidate gene for human sensorineural hearing loss.
Project description:Disordered protein ubiquitination has been linked to neurodegenerative disease, yet its role in inner ear homeostasis and hearing loss is essentially unknown. Here we show that progressive hearing loss in the ethylnitrosourea-generated mambo mouse line is caused by a mutation in Usp53, a member of the deubiquitinating enzyme family. USP53 contains a catalytically inactive ubiquitin-specific protease domain and is expressed in cochlear hair cells and a subset of supporting cells. Although hair cell differentiation is unaffected in mambo mice, outer hair cells degenerate rapidly after the first postnatal week. USP53 colocalizes and interacts with the tight junction scaffolding proteins TJP1 and TJP2 in polarized epithelial cells, suggesting that USP53 is part of the tight junction complex. The barrier properties of tight junctions of the stria vascularis appeared intact in a biotin tracer assay, but the endocochlear potential is reduced in adult mambo mice. Hair cell degeneration in mambo mice precedes endocochlear potential decline and is rescued in cochlear organotypic cultures in low potassium milieu, indicating that hair cell loss is triggered by extracellular factors. Remarkably, heterozygous mambo mice show increased susceptibility to noise injury at high frequencies. We conclude that USP53 is a novel tight junction-associated protein that is essential for the survival of auditory hair cells and normal hearing in mice, possibly by modulating the barrier properties and mechanical stability of tight junctions.Hereditary hearing loss is extremely prevalent in the human population, but many genes linked to hearing loss remain to be discovered. Forward genetics screens in mice have facilitated the identification of genes involved in sensory perception and provided valuable animal models for hearing loss in humans. This involves introducing random mutations in mice, screening the mice for hearing defects, and mapping the causative mutation. Here, we have identified a mutation in the Usp53 gene that causes progressive hearing loss in the mambo mouse line. We demonstrate that USP53 is a catalytically inactive deubiquitinating enzyme and a novel component of tight junctions that is necessary for sensory hair cell survival and inner ear homeostasis.
Project description:Alström Syndrome is a life-threatening disease characterized primarily by numerous metabolic abnormalities, retinal degeneration, cardiomyopathy, kidney and liver disease, and sensorineural hearing loss. The cellular localization of the affected protein, ALMS1, has suggested roles in ciliary function and/or ciliogenesis. We have investigated the role of ALMS1 in the cochlea and the pathogenesis of hearing loss in Alström Syndrome. In neonatal rat organ of Corti, ALMS1 was localized to the basal bodies of hair cells and supporting cells. ALMS1 was also evident at the basal bodies of differentiating fibrocytes and marginal cells in the lateral wall. Centriolar ALMS1 expression was retained into maturity. In Alms1-disrupted mice, which recapitulate the neurosensory deficits of human Alström Syndrome, cochleae displayed several cyto-architectural defects including abnormalities in the shape and orientation of hair cell stereociliary bundles. Developing hair cells were ciliated, suggesting that ciliogenesis was largely normal. In adult mice, in addition to bundle abnormalities, there was an accelerated loss of outer hair cells and the progressive appearance of large lesions in stria vascularis. Although the mice progressively lost distortion product otoacoustic emissions, suggesting defects in outer hair cell amplification, their endocochlear potentials were normal, indicating the strial atrophy did not affect its function. These results identify previously unrecognized cochlear histopathologies associated with this ciliopathy that (i) implicate ALMS1 in planar cell polarity signaling and (ii) suggest that the loss of outer hair cells causes the majority of the hearing loss in Alström Syndrome.
Project description:Neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) encodes the transmembrane cellular receptor neuropilin-1, which is associated with cardiovascular and neuronal development and was within the peak SNP interval on chromosome 8 in our prior GWAS study on age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in mice. In this study, we generated and characterized an inner ear-specific Nrp1 conditional knockout (CKO) mouse line because Nrp1 constitutive knockouts are embryonic lethal. In situ hybridization demonstrated weak Nrp1 mRNA expression late in embryonic cochlear development, but increased expression in early postnatal stages when cochlear hair cell innervation patterns have been shown to mature. At postnatal day 5, Nrp1 CKO mice showed disorganized outer spiral bundles and enlarged microvessels of the stria vascularis (SV) but normal spiral ganglion cell (SGN) density and presynaptic ribbon body counts; however, we observed enlarged SV microvessels, reduced SGN density, and a reduction of presynaptic ribbons in the outer hair cell region of 4-month-old Nrp1 CKO mice. In addition, we demonstrated elevated hearing thresholds of the 2-month-old and 4-month-old Nrp1 CKO mice at frequencies ranging from 4 to 32kHz when compared to 2-month-old mice. These data suggest that conditional loss of Nrp1 in the inner ear leads to progressive hearing loss in mice. We also demonstrated that mice with a truncated variant of Nrp1 show cochlear axon guidance defects and that exogenous semaphorin-3A, a known neuropilin-1 receptor agonist, repels SGN axons in vitro. These data suggest that Neuropilin-1/Semaphorin-3A signaling may also serve a role in neuronal pathfinding in the developing cochlea. In summary, our results here support a model whereby Neuropilin-1/Semaphorin-3A signaling is critical for the functional and morphological integrity of the cochlea and that Nrp1 may play a role in ARHL.