New research reveals that nicotinamide mononucleotide protects cells critical for hearing and balance from damage caused by the chemotherapeutic cisplatin.
There are few, if any, silver bullet clinical treatments for cancer, as many medical interventions have side effects. For example, the chemotherapeutic cisplatin can cause hearing loss and ototoxicity — when a medical treatment causes hearing or balance problems. This ototoxic agent causes damage to the specialized cells in the snail shell-shaped structure in our ears (the cochlea) that harbor cells that are sensitive to sound (hair cells).
New research from Zhan and colleagues shows that the levels of a critical molecule to cell function and survival called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) drop in hair cells treated with cisplatin, eventually leading to declines in hair cell number and function. However, when the researchers from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, injected mice with NMN (100 mg/kg), a precursor of NAD+, the hair cells survived, and the mice retained much of their hearing ability.