Anti-epileptic drugs delay age-related loss of spiral ganglion neurons via T-type calcium channel

Debin Lei, Xia Gao, Philip Perez, Kevin K. Ohlemiller, Chien Chang Chen, Kevin P. Campbell, Aizhen Yang Hood, Jianxin Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Loss of spiral ganglion neurons is a major cause of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Despite being the third most prevalent condition afflicting elderly persons, there are no known medications to prevent presbycusis. Because calcium signaling has long been implicated in age-related neuronal death, we investigated T-type calcium channels. This family is comprised of three members (Ca v3.1, Ca v3.2, and Ca v3.3), based on their respective main pore-forming alpha subunits: α1G, α1H, and α1I. In the present study, we report a significant delay of age-related loss of cochlear function and preservation of spiral ganglion neurons in α1H null and heterozygous mice, clearly demonstrating an important role for Ca v3.2 in age-related neuronal loss. Furthermore, we show that anticonvulsant drugs from a family of T-type calcium channel blockers can significantly preserve spiral ganglion neurons during aging. To our knowledge, this is the first report of drugs capable of diminishing age-related loss of spiral ganglion neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalHearing research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

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