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Drug Discov Today. 2010 Apr;15(7-8):265-71. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 22.

Drug screening for hearing loss: using the zebrafish lateral line to screen for drugs that prevent and cause hearing loss.

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Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Box 357923, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Several animal models have been used for the study of mechanosensory hair cells and hearing loss. Because of the difficulty of tissue acquisition and large animal size, these traditional models are impractical for high-throughput screening. The zebrafish has emerged as a powerful animal model for screening drugs that cause and prevent hair cell death. The unique characteristics of the zebrafish enable rapid in vivo imaging of hair cells and hair cell death. We have used this model to screen for and identify multiple drugs that protect hair cells from aminoglycoside-induced death. The identification of multiple drugs and drug-like compounds that inhibit multiple hair cell death pathways might enable the development of protective cocktails to achieve complete hair cell protection.

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