Home Academia & Research Sea Anemone Proteins Linked to Restored Hearing in Mice

Sea Anemone Proteins Linked to Restored Hearing in Mice

by Shelley D. Hutchins
sea anemone

An experiment performed recently by Glen Watson, a cell biologist at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, finds an association between sea anemone proteins and reversal of deafness in mice. The proteins may help reorganize damaged hair cells inside the mouse ear’s corti.

Watson works in hearing restoration and noted in previous studies how anemone proteins worked to reorganize anemones’  own damaged hair cells used for hearing. In this recent experiment, he isolated the healing proteins and first applied them to cave fish. This blind fish also repairs its own hair cell bundles, but it usually takes more than a week. When Watson applied the anemone protein, however, the repair happened in just over an hour.

In the next phase of the experiment, Watson applied the protein mixture to damaged hair bundles from mice pups. He compared the treated hair cells to a control group of healthy corti hair cell bundles and untreated damaged tissue. Based on a score of 0 to 6, the protein-treated hairs scored an average of 5.1. The damaged control group scored only an average of 2.2, and the healthy control group 5.9, leading researchers to believe that the proteins played a role in restoring significant hearing.

More advancements in restoring hearing:

Boosting Key Protein Restores Hearing in Mice

Researchers Use Gene Therapy to Repair Inner-Ear Defects in Mice

Nutritional Supplements May Help Slow Hearing Loss in Mice


Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for The ASHA Leader. shutchins@asha.org 

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Arun Mano September 14, 2016 - 9:34 am

Hi, I am a Audiolody student. Can I know the name of protein that helps in repairing the damaged hair cells.

Shelley D. Hutchins September 14, 2016 - 3:56 pm

Dear Arun,

The names of the 37 proteins used by sea anemones in restoring hearing cells aren’t listed in the original “Economist” article, but the name of the researcher and his study (where you probably can find those names) are both listed:
“…an experiment led by Glen Watson of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, suggests an ointment containing proteins harvested from sea anemones may do the trick.”

In addition, the related articles listed above discuss some of these helpful proteins:
“Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein—NT3—in their ears, according to a paper in the online journal eLife,”
comes from this article: http://leader.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2087418

Good luck with your studies,
Shelley D. Hutchins

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