Date: 25 Feb 2009

Identification of FDA-Approved Drugs and Bioactives that Protect Hair Cells in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Lateral Line and Mouse (Mus musculus) Utricle


The hair cells of the larval zebrafish lateral line provide a useful preparation in which to study hair cell death and to screen for genes and small molecules that modulate hair cell toxicity. We recently reported preliminary results from screening a small-molecule library for compounds that inhibit aminoglycoside-induced hair cell death. To potentially reduce the time required for development of drugs and drug combinations that can be clinically useful, we screened a library of 1,040 FDA-approved drugs and bioactive compounds (NINDS Custom Collection II). Seven compounds that protect against neomycin-induced hair cell death were identified. Four of the seven drugs inhibited aminoglycoside uptake, based on Texas-Red-conjugated gentamicin uptake. The activities of two of the remaining three drugs were evaluated using an in vitro adult mouse utricle preparation. One drug, 9-amino-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroacridine (tacrine) demonstrated conserved protective effects in the mouse utricle. These results demonstrate that the zebrafish lateral line can be used to screen successfully for drugs within a library of FDA-approved drugs and bioactives that inhibit hair cell death in the mammalian inner ear and identify tacrine as a promising protective drug for future studies.