Objective: Test the ability of glutathione monoethyl ester (GSHe) to protect auditory hair cells against the ototoxic effects of 4-hydroxy-2,3-nonenal (HNE). Study design and setting: Organ of Corti explants were either untreated or treated with one of a series of four concentrations of GSHe for one day, then exposed to HNE. Counts of FITC-phalloidin-labeled hair cells determined both HNE ototoxicity and GSHe otoprotection. Results: HNE was toxic to hair cells at physiologically relevant levels, eg, 400 μM, and GSHe provided a significant level of protection against HNE ototoxicity (P < 0.05) at all levels tested, ie, 1.16 to 9.3 mM. Conclusion: GSHe protects auditory hair cells from damage and loss initiated by a naturally occurring ototoxic molecule, ie, HNE (a by-product of oxidative stress). Significance: Treatment with GSHe may be an effective therapy to protect the cochlea against the adverse effects of traumas (eg, electrode insertion) that generate oxidative stress.
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