Intriguingly, hearing loss from loud noise exposure or drugs such as cisplatin, a common form of chemotherapy, also stems from activation of the UPR in hair cells, suggesting that the UPR may underly several different forms of deafness.
There are several drugs that block the UPR – and stop hearing loss – in laboratory animals. The new findings make a stronger case for testing these drugs in people who are at risk of losing their hearing, according to the researchers.
But they found there was a way to stop this. ISRIB, a drug developed at UCSF to block the UPR’s self-destruct mechanism in traumatic brain injury, prevented animals who were exposed to noise from going deaf.