Ears can't hear when special sensory cells don't stay 'quiet'

ficantly before the hair cells of the Ink4d -/- mice responded.

"The fact that mice lacking Ink4d lost so much of their sense of hearing by week fifteen was a result of the loss of many of their sensory hair cells," Roussel said The study's findings suggest that progressive deafness due to the absence or mutation of Ink4d might respond to gene therapy. However, Roussel cautions that such therapy could be dangerous.

"Some cells, like the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, are not designed to reproduce once they are formed in the embryo," Roussel said. "It's a delicate balance between stimulating cells to reproduce to replace lost cells, and setting off unintended apoptosis, which could make things much worse."

The lead author of the paper is Ping Chen, Ph.D., a Senior Research Associate at the House Ear Institute (HEI). Other authors of the paper include Frederique Zindy (St. Jude), Caroline Abdala, and Xiankui Li (House Ear Institute), and Feng Liu, Graduate Fellow (USC). This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, ALSAC, and the Oberkotter Foundation.


Contact: Bonnie Cameron
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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