Hearing Impairment Cause Identified, Claims Research
A study published in The Journal PLoS Biology, which was conducted by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, has revealed that soon they would be able to find the reason which causes sound impairment in humans.
Lead researcher Dr. Sung-Ho Huh said that they have recognized a gene, FGF20, which would be quite crucial in the process to understand the cause of deafness among the humans. This gene is said to be quite important for the development of inner ear.
A mice lab test revealed that when they took out this gene from mice, they found them to be quite healthy and active but they had absolutely no ability to hear. Co-author David Ornitz said, “When we inactivated FGF20 in mice, we saw they were alive and healthy. But then we figured out that they had absolutely no ability to hear”.
Embryonic development, tissue maintenance and wound healing are some of the many factors which affect FGF20 (fibroblast growth factors growth) negatively.
Another thing that gets affected due to disability of FGF20 is loss of outer hair cells. These cells are quite delicate, which are present in the inner ear and are responsible for amplifying sound. It was something new to them, said Huh.
He said they never knew that inner hair cells would be such important for hearing purpose. One of the concerns is that these cells could not be regenerated. So now they also have to focus on finding a substitute of these delicate hair cells.
This study demands an extensive follow up, said Huh. The research team said that their next step would be to look out the molecular mechanism that is responsible for the expression of FGF20. Once it gets known, then it would not be a big problem for them to find preventive measures to avoid the loss of this specific gene as well as inner hair cells.
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