Requirement of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit β2 in the maintenance of spiral ganglion neurons during aging

Jianxin Bao, Debin Lei, Yafei Du, Kevin K. Ohlemiller, Arthur L. Beaudet, Lorna W. Role

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a major health concern for the elderly. Loss of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), the primary sensory relay of the auditory system, is associated consistently with presbycusis. The causative molecular events responsible for age-related loss of SGNs are unknown. Recent reports directly link age-related neuronal loss in cerebral cortex with the loss of high-affinity nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). In cochlea, cholinergic synapses are made by olivocochlear efferent fibers on the outer hair cells that express α9 nAChR subunits and on the peripheral projections of SGNs that express α2, α4-7, and β2-3 nAChR subunits. A significantly decreased expression of the β2 nAChR subunit in SGNs was found specifically in mice susceptible to presbycusis. Furthermore, mice lacking the β2 nAChR subunit (β2-/-), but not mice lacking the α5 nAChR subunit (α5-/-), have dramatic hearing loss and significant reduction in the number of SGNs. Our findings clearly established a requirement for β2 nAChR subunit in the maintenance of SGNs during aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3041-3045
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume25
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 23 2005

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Hearing loss
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Presbycusis
  • Spiral ganglion neurons

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