The most common cause of hearing loss is damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. Once hair cells die, humans (like other mammals) aren’t able to grow new ones. Zebrafish, unlike humans, are able to regenerate their damaged hair cells. US researchers hope knowledge about this can help humans in the future.
A research team at the University of Washington in Seattle in USA has been working on finding a way to resolve that problem in experiments involving the zebrafish, a common aquarium denizen. The zebrafish has clusters of hair cells running along the outside of its body that help sense vibrations in the water, working in a similar way to hair cells in the human inner ear. Zebrafish, unlike humans, are able to regenerate their damaged hair cells. Researchers hope their work can unlock secrets to protect human hair cells from becoming damaged and to stimulate the cells to regenerate.
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