Sea anemone protein may hold cure for hearing loss in mammals

Some conditions like hearing loss have gone untreated for centuries. Victims of this gradually accept the disability has no treatment available to reverse hearing loss. As technology in the medical science field advances and research is shared, scientists have discovered that a sea anemone protein may hold a cure for hearing loss in mammals. Sea anemone has the skill to repair cells, and this knowledge was hypothesized to repair damaged hearing parts in mice.

Hearing problems arise when hair cells in the inner ear are affected by loud noise or unwanted materials in the ear. Hair cells have bundles of tiny hair-like structures on the surface known as the stereocilia that are tethered by protein strands at the tips. When hair cells are damaged, the tethers break causing the collapse of the stereocilia. Sea anemones use hair cells which are sensitive to vibration on their tentacles to detect prey. Researchers in Lafayette at the University of Louisiana have shown that the sea anemones have the ability to repair damaged hair cells.

Dr. Glen Watson and his counterpart, Pei-Ciao Tang, exposed damaged mouse cochlear cells in a calcium-free environment to the proteins found in the tentacles of the sea anemone. After an hour of the experiment, there was significant repair to the hair cells. The mouse hair cells were deprived of calcium to simulate the severe damage caused in the mammal ear by loud noises.

The scientists reported the findings in the Journal of Experimental Biology hoping that, with further research and application, sea anemones will provide a cure for acute hearing loss in mammals and particularly human beings. Sea anemones have the incredible capability to repair its body. Notably, during reproduction, the sea anemones split in half, and later the cells repair themselves.