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Gene therapy durably reverses congenital deafness in mice

Scientists have managed to restore hearing in an adult mouse model of DFNB9 deafness — a hearing disorder that represents one of the most frequent cases of congenital genetic deafness. Individuals with DFNB9 deafness are profoundly deaf as they are deficient in the gene coding for otoferlin, a protein which is essential for transmitting sound information at the auditory sensory cell synapses.

In collaboration with the universities of Miami, Columbia and San Francisco, scientists from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm, CNRS, Collège de France, Sorbonne University and the University of Clermont Auvergne have managed to restore hearing in an adult mouse model of DFNB9 deafness — a hearing disorder that represents one of the most frequent cases of congenital genetic deafness. Individuals with DFNB9 deafness are profoundly deaf as they are deficient in the gene coding for otoferlin, a protein which is essential for transmitting sound information at the auditory sensory cell synapses. By carrying out an intracochlear injection of this gene in an adult DFNB9 mouse model, the scientists successfully restored auditory synapse function and hearing thresholds to a near-normal level. These findings, published in the journal PNAS, open up new avenues for future gene therapy trials in patients with DFNB9.

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