Long-term exposure to low-intensity environmental noise aggravates age-related hearing loss via disruption of cochlear ribbon synapses.
Am J Transl Res. 2020;12(7):3674-3687
Authors: Feng S, Yang L, Hui L, Luo Y, Du Z, Xiong W, Liu K, Jiang X
Noise pollution is a major public hazard. Previous studies have shown that environmental noise affects the reorganization of the auditory cortex and leads to behavioral abnormality; however, the effects of long-term environmental noise exposure on the inner ear and hearing remain to be elucidated. In this study, we simulated environmental noise with a long-term 70 dB sound pressure level “white” noise, observed its effect on the inner ears of C57BL/6J mice, and developed an in vitro model for mechanistic studies. We found that environmental noise increased the hearing threshold, decreased the auditory response amplitude, and aggravated the range and extent of age-related hearing loss (ARHL), especially in the intermediate frequency band in mice. Cochlear ribbon synapse is the primary site of inner ear injury caused by environmental noise. We also verified, through an in vitro simulation of the excitatory toxicity of glutamate and aging effects, that the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome plays a vital role in the cochlear ribbon synaptic damage. Our results show that long-term exposure to low-intensity environmental noise can lead to hearing loss via the disruption of ribbon synapses, which is caused by an inflammatory reaction. Additionally, environmental noise can further aggravate the progression of ARHL. This study expounded the pathogenesis of the inner ear damage caused by environmental noise exposure and provides a new direction for the prevention and treatment of hearing loss.
PMID: 32774726 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]