P4 - Protective role of sialic acid for sensory auditory neurons
Reactive oxygen species and loss of ganglioside subtypes have been postulated to contribute to progression of acquired hearing loss, but the exact source of radicals and the link to sialylated gangliosides are still unclear. In this project we will study the "Sialic Acid – Siglec Axis" and the "Sialic Acid - Complement Axis" in the inner ear of mice with reduced sialic acid levels (Gne+/- mice). We will try to rescue any sialic acid loss-triggered damage to the hair cells or sensory neurons of the inner ear by blocking the complement cascade (complement C3-/- mice) or inhibiting the radical production of macrophages (via NADPH oxidase 2; Nox2-/- mice). Data will help to understand the molecular mechanism of acquired hearing loss.