The research team of Professor Hideyuki Okano of the Department of Physiology, Keio University School of Medicine and Professor Iku Ogawa of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology have used common marmosets as disease models for multiple genes that are thought to cause the development of deafness. Announced that there is a "specific" gene expression pattern.It is expected that we will proceed with research on the pathophysiology of hereditary deafness, which has been difficult to create a disease model.

 Congenital hearing loss is a very common congenital disorder, and it is said that about half of them are caused by impaired development of the inner ear, which is the peripheral hearing organ, and the function to maintain normal condition.So far, efforts have been made to elucidate the mechanism of the onset of deafness by conducting research using mice as a disease model, but some human deafness genes, especially those that cause progressive deafness, are reproduced in mice. There were many cases that could not be done, which hindered the elucidation of the cause and the development of treatment methods.

 The research team investigated the inner ear of the small primate common marmoset in detail and found that its histological structure and gene expression were very close to those of humans.Next, as a result of examining 20 genes that strongly cause the expression of deafness in the inner ear of the common marmoset, it was found that there is a big difference in the expression pattern of the mouse and the marmoset in the 5 genes that cannot reproduce the deafness in the mouse. I did.In this study, it was clarified that "expression of genes found only in primates" occurs in the inner ear of humans, and it was also suggested that this may be the reason why animal models cannot be made in mice.

 From this research, regarding the working style of genes specific to primates, a multifaceted approach from both individual and cellular level studies not only in rodents but also in primates including humans is necessary. Was confirmed.In addition, it is expected that research on hereditary deafness genes, which had been difficult to create disease models, will dramatically develop through research using common marmosets.

Keio University

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