New subtypes of neurons present in the inner ear have just been identified by a Swedish team. This study, published in “Nature Communications”, opens the way to new therapeutic approaches for hearing disorders.
Until then, the main neurons of the auditory system, whose role is to convert and convey sound information to the brain, were classified into two categories: type I neurons and type II neurons. This work brings a new light. Indeed, thanks to single-cell RNA sequencing and morphological and physiological analyzes, the researchers found in the mouse three different subtypes of type I neurons. These neurons would notably be involved in the decoding of the sound intensity.
“This allows us to better understand the role played by different neurons in hearing. We have also identified active genes in different types of cells, “says Dr. François Lallemend, one of the authors.
Our study can open the way for the development of genetic tools that can be used for new treatments for different kinds of hearing disorders, such as tinnitus. Our mapping can also give rise to different ways of influencing the function of individual nerve cells in the body.
Dr. François Lallemend
Note that these four categories of neurons are present from birth.