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      Cellular Differences in the Cochlea of CBA and B6 Mice May Underlie Their Difference in Susceptibility to Hearing Loss


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          Hearing is an extremely delicate sense that is particularly vulnerable to insults from environment, including drugs and noise. Unsurprisingly, mice of different genetic backgrounds show different susceptibility to hearing loss. In particular, CBA/CaJ (CBA) mice maintain relatively stable hearing over age while C57BL/6J (B6) mice show a steady decline of hearing, making them a popular model for early onset hearing loss. To reveal possible underlying mechanisms, we examined cellular differences in the cochlea of these two mouse strains. Although the ABR threshold and Wave I latency are comparable between them, B6 mice have a smaller Wave I amplitude. This difference is probably due to fewer spiral ganglion neurons found in B6 mice, as the number of ribbon synapses per inner hair cell (IHC) is comparable between the two mouse strains. Next, we compared the outer hair cell (OHC) function and we found OHCs from B6 mice are larger in size but the prestin density is similar among them, consistent with the finding that they share similar hearing thresholds. Lastly, we examined the IHC function and we found IHCs from B6 mice have a larger Ca 2+ current, release more synaptic vesicles and recycle synaptic vesicles more quickly. Taken together, our results suggest that excessive exocytosis from IHCs in B6 mice may raise the probability of glutamate toxicity in ribbon synapses, which could accumulate over time and eventually lead to early onset hearing loss.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Cadherin 23 is a component of the tip link in hair-cell stereocilia.

          Mechanoelectrical transduction, the conversion of mechanical force into electrochemical signals, underlies a range of sensory phenomena, including touch, hearing and balance. Hair cells of the vertebrate inner ear are specialized mechanosensors that transduce mechanical forces arising from sound waves and head movement to provide our senses of hearing and balance; however, the mechanotransduction channel of hair cells and the molecules that regulate channel activity have remained elusive. One molecule that might participate in mechanoelectrical transduction is cadherin 23 (CDH23), as mutations in its gene cause deafness and age-related hearing loss. Furthermore, CDH23 is large enough to be the tip link, the extracellular filament proposed to gate the mechanotransduction channel. Here we show that antibodies against CDH23 label the tip link, and that CDH23 has biochemical properties similar to those of the tip link. Moreover, CDH23 forms a complex with myosin-1c, the only known component of the mechanotransduction apparatus, suggesting that CDH23 and myosin-1c cooperate to regulate the activity of mechanically gated ion channels in hair cells.
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            Age-related hearing loss in C57BL/6J mice is mediated by Bak-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis.

            Age-related hearing loss (AHL), known as presbycusis, is a universal feature of mammalian aging and is the most common sensory disorder in the elderly population. The molecular mechanisms underlying AHL are unknown, and currently there is no treatment for the disorder. Here we report that C57BL/6J mice with a deletion of the mitochondrial pro-apoptotic gene Bak exhibit reduced age-related apoptotic cell death of spiral ganglion neurons and hair cells in the cochlea, and prevention of AHL. Oxidative stress induces Bak expression in primary cochlear cells, and Bak deficiency prevents apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, a mitochondrially targeted catalase transgene suppresses Bak expression in the cochlea, reduces cochlear cell death, and prevents AHL. Oral supplementation with the mitochondrial antioxidants alpha-lipoic acid and coenzyme Q(10) also suppresses Bak expression in the cochlea, reduces cochlear cell death, and prevents AHL. Thus, induction of a Bak-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis program in response to oxidative stress is a key mechanism of AHL in C57BL/6J mice.
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              Direct measurement of specific membrane capacitance in neurons.

              The specific membrane capacitance (C(m)) of a neuron influences synaptic efficacy and determines the speed with which electrical signals propagate along dendrites and unmyelinated axons. The value of this important parameter remains controversial. In this study, C(m) was estimated for the somatic membrane of cortical pyramidal neurons, spinal cord neurons, and hippocampal neurons. A nucleated patch was pulled and a voltage-clamp step was applied. The exponential decay of the capacitative charging current was analyzed to give the total membrane capacitance, which was then divided by the observed surface area of the patch. C(m) was 0.9 microF/cm(2) for each class of neuron. To test the possibility that membrane proteins may alter C(m), embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293) were studied before and after transfection with a plasmid coding for glycine receptor/channels. The value of C(m) was indistinguishable in untransfected cells and in transfected cells expressing a high level of glycine channels, indicating that differences in transmembrane protein content do not significantly affect C(m). Thus, to a first approximation, C(m) may be treated as a "biological constant" across many classes of neuron.

                Author and article information

                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front. Cell. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                27 February 2019
                : 13
                1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , Shanghai, China
                2Ear Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , Shanghai, China
                3Shanghai Key Laboratory of Translational Medicine on Ear and Nose Diseases , Shanghai, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Peter S. Steyger, Oregon Health and Science University, United States

                Reviewed by: Hongzhe Li, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, United States; Kevin Ohlemiller, Washington University in St. Louis, United States

                *Correspondence: Geng-Lin Li genglin@ 123456sh9hospital.org
                Copyright © 2019 Liu, Li, Lu, Gao, Song, Li and Wu.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, Equations: 2, References: 42, Pages: 10, Words: 6919
                Original Research


                hearing loss, hair cell, spiral ganglion neuron, ribbon synapse, calcium current, exocytosis


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