Novel oral multifunctional antioxidant prevents noise-induced hearing loss and hair cell loss

G. D. Chen, D. M. Daszynski, D. Ding, H. Jiang, T. Woolman, K. Blessing, P. F. Kador, R. Salvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress is a major contributor to noise-induced hearing loss, the most common cause of hearing loss among military personnel and young adults. HK-2 is a potent, orally-active, multifunctional, redox-modulating drug that has been shown to protect against a wide range of neurological disorders with no observed side effects. HK-2 protected cochlear HEI-OC1 cells against various forms of experimentally-induced oxidative stressors similar to those observed during and after intense noise exposure. The mechanisms by which HK-2 protects cells is twofold, first by its ability to reduce oxidative stress generated by free radicals, and second, by its ability to complex biologically active transition metals such as Fe+2, thus reducing their availability to participate in the Fenton reaction where highly toxic hydroxyl radicals are generated. For the rat in vivo studies, HK-2 provided significant protection against noise-induced hearing loss and hair cell loss. Noise-induced hearing loss was induced by an 8–16 kHz octave band noises presented for 8 h/d for 21 days at an intensity of 95 dB SPL. In the Prevention study, HK-2 was administered orally beginning 5 days before the start of the noise and ending 10 days after the noise. Treatment with HK-2 dose-dependently reduced the amount of noise-induced hearing impairment, reflected in the cochlear compound action potential, and noise-induced hair cell loss. In a subsequent Rescue experiment in which HK-2 was administered for 10 days starting after the noise was turned off, HK-2 also significantly reduced the amount of hearing impairment, but the effect size was substantially less than in the Prevention studies. HK-2 alone did not adversely affect HEI-OC1 cell viability, nor did it cause any adverse changes in rat body weight, behavior, cochlear function or hair cell integrity. Thus, HK-2 is a novel, safe, orally-deliverable and highly effective otoprotective compound with considerable potential for preventing hearing loss from noise and other hearing disorders linked to excessive oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107880
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020


  • Hair cell loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Noise exposure
  • Otoprotection
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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