Obesity-related disorders are closely associated with the development of age-related hearing impairment (ARHI). Adiponectin (APN) exerts protective effects against obesity-related conditions including endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Here, we investigated the impact of APN on ARHI. APN-knockout (APN-KO) mice developed exacerbation of hearing impairment, particularly in the high frequency range, compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Supplementation with APN prevented the hearing impairment in APN-KO mice. At 2 months of age, the cochlear blood flow and capillary density of the stria vascularis (SV) were significantly reduced in APN-KO mice as compared with WT mice. APN-KO mice also showed a significant increase in terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive apoptotic cells in the organ of Corti in the cochlea at 2 months of age. At the age of 6 months, hair cells were lost at the organ of Corti in APN-KO mice. In cultured auditory HEI-OC1 cells, APN reduced apoptotic activity under hypoxic conditions. Clinically, plasma APN levels were significantly lower in humans with ARHI. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified APN as a significant and independent predictor of ARHI. Our observations indicate that APN has an important role in preventing ARHI.
Cell Death Dis . 2014 Apr 24;5(4):e1189. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.140.