Hair cells in mouse ears
These delicate hair cells from the inner ear of mice were tested to see the effects of powerful antibiotics on structures that are crucial to hearing. At left, cells that were exposed to the common antibiotic gentamycin showed signs of high levels of damaging free radicals (seen in green). But cells treated with the drug apramycin. shown at right, didn't show these effects -- adding to evidence that this drug could be used to treat humans without damaging hearing.
Using this testing method, scientists at the U-M Medical School and their colleagues in Switzerland and England also hope to design new antibiotics that kill even “superbugs” like multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis without harming hearing, which is a major side effect of some of the most powerful current antibiotics.
Learn more: www.uofmhealth.org/news/kill-germs-spare-ears