Estrogen receptor protects against auditory trauma

Published 2008-03-04 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:29

Female sex hormone may provide protection against hearing loss, according to a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet presented in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the study, Professor Barbara Canlon and colleagues at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology investigated the role of estradiol-binding proteins, known as estrogen receptors, in response to hearing loss. The results where based on studies on 'knock-out mice' with deficiencies in varous estrogen receptors. The 'female sex hormone' estradiol is present in both men and women, and plays various roles in addition to its gender-specific ones. In men, estradiol is generated from testosterone by the protein aromatase.

Barbara Canlon

The researchers found, that mice of both sexes deficient in only the estrogen receptor beta had reduced recovery from auditory trauma and that treatment with estrogen receptor beta binding drugs protected the animals against auditory damage. They also found, that levels of the nerve-protecting protein BDNF were reduced in the ears of mice that lacked either estrogen receptor beta or aromatase.

- This identification of an auditory-protective role for the estrogen receptor beta may enable the development of new treatments for hearing loss, says Professor Barbara Canlon.


Ina Metlser, Yeasmin Tahera, Evan Simpson, Malou Hultcrantz, Konstantin Charitidi, Jan-Åke Gustafsson och Barbara Canlon

Estrogen receptor ß protects against acoustic trauma in mice

The Journal of Clinical Investigations, vol 118, nr 4, 4 april 2008.

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