Towards using SIFT-MS to facilitate early intervention for age related hearing loss

Amy Worrall 1, Prof. David N Furness 2, Prof. Nicholas R Forsyth 1, Dr Abigail V Rutter 1
1. School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering, Keele University 2. School of Life Sciences, Keele University 

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Age related hearing loss (ARHL) affects most people over 65, with current treatments unable to offer continued improvement as the condition progresses. Research suggests that where degradation of cochlear fibrocytes (often via inflammation [1][2]) is the leading pathology[3][4], biological interventions are possible[5][6]. To facilitate this, an early detection strategy for damage is required to enable timely intervention and monitoring post-treatment. This research presents progress towards development of such a strategy, wherein selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is used to ascertain fibrocyte health non-invasively via relevant biofluids. This research examined levels (parts/billion) of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the headspace of in vitro murine cochlear fibrocytes (both healthy and inflamed) in real time using SIFT-MS. Inflammation was induced via addition of IL-1β, with inflammatory state confirmed by examination of IL-6 and IL-8 expression. Cultures were examined via SIFT-MS (Transpectra Profile 3) to obtain measures of VOCs in sample headspace, with observations across H3O+ and NO+ precursors for compounds of m/z 1-180. Statistical analysis of multi ion mode samples was performed via Mann Whitney U test. SIFT-MS results show that healthy cellular samples present unique compounds at low, biologically relevant, numbers (15,000 cells/sample). SIFT-MS of inflamed cells demonstrates detectable differences between undosed and dosed cultures. The suggested method for SIFT-MS of cochlear fibrocyte health thus appears successful, with research demonstrating progress towards establishment of detectable fibrocyte inflammation indicators. Reliable detection of such indicators via SIFT-MS represents an addition to knowledge of inflammatory associated VOCs, relevant to breath studies and beyond. REFERENCES 1) Fujioka et al., 2014 2) Verschuur et al., 2014 3) Hequembourg & Liberman, 2001 4) Mahendrasingam et al., 2011 5) Sun et al., 2012 6) Kamiya




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