Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is the most common sensory disorder among older people, and yet, the treatment options are limited to medical devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. The high prevalence of ARHL mandates the development of treatment strategies that can prevent or rescue age-related cochlear degeneration. In this study, we investigated a novel pharmacological strategy based on inhibition of the adenosine A2A
R) in middle aged C57BL/6 mice prone to early onset ARHL. C57BL/6J mice were treated with weekly istradefylline (A2A
R antagonist; 1 mg/kg) injections from 6 to 12 months of age. Auditory function was assessed using auditory brainstem responses (ABR) to tone pips (4–32 kHz). ABR thresholds and suprathreshold responses (wave I amplitudes and latencies) were evaluated at 6, 9, and 12 months of age. Functional outcomes were correlated with quantitative histological assessments of sensory hair cells. Cognitive function was assessed using the Morris water maze and the novel object recognition test, and the zero maze test was used to assess anxiety-like behaviour. Weekly injections of istradefylline attenuated ABR threshold shifts by approximately 20 dB at mid to high frequencies (16–32 kHz) but did not improve ABR suprathreshold responses. Istradefylline treatment improved hair cell survival in a turn-dependent manner, whilst the cognitive function was unaffected by istradefylline treatment. This study presents the first evidence for the rescue potential of istradefylline in ARHL and highlights the role of A2A
R in development of age-related cochlear degeneration.
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