Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.478, No.4, 1667-1673, 2016
Tetrabromobisphenol-A induces apoptotic death of auditory cells and hearing loss
Phenolic tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA) and its derivatives are commonly used flame-retardants, in spite of reported toxic effects including neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, and hepatotoxicity. However, the effects of TBBPA on ototoxicity have not yet been reported. In this study, we investigated the effect of TBBPA on hearing function in vivo and in vitro. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) threshold was markedly increased in mice after oral administration of TBBPA, indicating that TBBPA causes hearing loss. In addition, TBBPA induced the loss of both zebrafish neuromasts and hair cells in the rat cochlea in a dose-dependent manner. Mechanistically, hearing loss is largely attributed to apoptotic cell death, as TBBPA increased the expression of pro-apoptotic genes but decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic genes. We also found that TBBPA induced oxidative stress, and importantly, pretreatment with NAC, an anti-oxidant reagent, reduced TBBPA-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and partially prevented cell death. Our results show that TBBPA-mediated ROS generation induces ototoxicity and hearing loss. These findings implicate TBBPA as a potential environmental ototoxin by exerting its hazardous effects on the auditory system. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.