Advances in the genetics of tinnitus via the mouse model

Tinnitus

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An international group of researchers have found, using a novel approach in the mouse model, that the GLAST gene may be protective in hearing by preventing ototoxicity, reports Science Daily.

The researchers from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, Jilin University, Changchun, China, the University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA, and The Rockefeller University New York, NY, USA, used a novel technique involving testing behavioral detection of a sound gap in mice of different strains.

Christopher R. Cederroth, corresponding author on the paper explains: “We found a solution that involved identifying the right mouse strain and the right stimulus timing. This improved the range of responses we could detect from animals with tinnitus in a mouse strain that is widely used in other fields for genetic testing, giving the entire community a robust model for further testing of biological mechanisms of tinnitus.” The approach is based on the fact that different mouse strains have specific genetic backgrounds, and show a different level of baseline sensitivity to these sound gaps.

The results of the study showed that the GLAST gene, which codes for a glutamate transporter and has been shown to be expressed in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, may have protective effects in the ear. “Our study opens the possibility that higher expression of GLAST in the cochlea could create the resistance of mice to auditory insults, by preventing ototoxicity,” Cederroth adds. The full findings were published in mid-August in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Source: Science Daily; Yu, H. et al. GLAST Deficiency in Mice Exacerbates Gap Detection Deficits in a Model of Salicylate-Induced Tinnitus. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2016 Aug 17;10:158.

C.S.