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Vol. 70 (2015) No. 2 p. 100-104



ミニ特集 環境因子により誘発される疾患の機構解明:フィールドワーク研究と実験研究のクロストークを介した衛生学研究

Noise stress generated in industry is one of the environmental factors that physically affects the functions of the inner ear. Exposure to noise can cause hearing loss, resulting in serious problems in occupational and daily life. At present, however, there are very limited ways to prevent hearing impairments. The inner ear consists of the organ of Corti, vestibule and semicircular canal. Functional or morphological damage of these tissues in the inner ear caused by genetic factors, aging or environmental factors can result in hearing or balance impairments. In this review, we first introduce a deafness-related molecule found by our clinical research. Our experimental research using genetically engineered mice further demonstrated that impaired activity of the target molecule caused congenital and age-related hearing loss with neurodegeneration of spiral ganglion neurons in the inner ears. We also describe impaired balance in mice caused by exposure to low-frequency noise under experimental conditions with indoor environmental monitoring. We believe that our approaches to pursue both experimental research and fieldwork research complementarily are crucial for the development of a method for prevention of impairments of the inner ear.

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