Will tinnitus be therapeutic in the near future?
A group of American researchers now announced that they may have discovered a pioneering treatment for tinnitus. They found that a molecule called TNF-A appears to disrupt neuronal communication in tinnitus. This finding could allow the development of new therapies for tinnitus.
The current study at the University of Arizona found that inhibition of a particular protein prevents tinnitus. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "PLOS Biology".
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which you perceive ear sounds that are not from a normal source, including stroke, bombardment, and throbbing. Tinnitus can cause stress, sleep disturbances, anxiety and hearing loss and is often associated with Meniere's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and depression. So far there is no cure for the disease.
Is neuroinflation targeting the treatment of tinnitus?
Researchers at the University of Arizona have now managed to stop the tinnitus in mice (which showed tinnitus after two hours of exposure to noise), blocking a protein that promotes brain inflammation. The results suggest that so-called neuro-inflammation may be a therapeutic target for the treatment of tinnitus and other hearing problems. Genetic removal of TNF-A or pharmacological inhibition of its expression prevented inflammation of the nervous system and improvement of tinnitus-related behavior in mice with hearing loss caused by noise, the authors of the study report. The analysis of the team found that inflammation in a brain processing area caused a controlled stroke in the ears of the infected mice.
Hearing loss is an important risk factor for tinnitus
Hearing loss is a widespread disease that affects about 500 million people worldwide and is a major risk factor for tinnitus. Recent research has shown that hearing loss is caused by inflammation in the ear canal, which is the immune response to injury and infection. However, how it affects hearing-related illnesses such as tinnitus is still poorly known. The findings show that noise-induced hearing loss is associated with elevated levels of molecules, called proinflammatory cytokines, and the activation of non-neuronal cells, called microglia, in the primary auditory cortex, the authors of the study explain.
Further investigations are needed
These results indicate neuroflammation as a therapeutic target in the treatment of tinnitus and other disorders associated with hearing loss. Although the treatment used was successful in animals, possible side effects should be thoroughly investigated before the first human tests are carried out, the researchers concluded. (As)
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