Activation of the body's CB2 receptor - something done naturally through the administration of cannabinoids - may provide an effective treatment option for hearing loss caused by chemotherapy, according to a new study published in the journal PLoS One, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
"We provide evidence for the presence of cannabinoid CB2 receptors in some cellular types of the cochlea [inner ear] of the adult albino rat", states the study's abstract. "Cannabinoids and their receptors are increasingly being studied because of their high potential for clinical use. As a hyperspecialized portion of the peripheral nervous system, study of the expression and function of cannabinoid receptors in the hearing organ is of high interest."
In studying rat models, researchers found that an "up-regulation of CB2 gene expression was detected after an ototoxic event such as cisplatin treatment, probably due to pro-inflammatory events triggered by the drug." Ocotoxic is the property of being toxic to the ear, and cisplatin is a drug given to those undergoing chemotherapy.
Researchers conclude; "That fact suggests promising potential of CB2 receptor as a therapeutic target for new treatments to palliate cisplatin-induced hearing loss and other ototoxic events which triggers inflammatory pathways."
The study, conducted by researchers at the Health Research Institute Puerta de Hierro in Spain, can be found by clicking here.