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    Nutrition and dietary habits contribute to the onset and progression of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are non-digestible oligosaccharides and are known as prebiotics, which enhance short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production and antioxidant activity. Although a substantial number of studies have shown that FOS play a role in the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases as prebiotics, little is known about the effects on the inner ear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of FOS on gene expression and spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) protection in the inner ear of DBA/2 J mice, which is a model for early-onset progressive hearing loss. DBA/2 J mice were fed either control diet or FOS diet contained 10% (w/w) of FOS for 8 weeks. Analysis of mice fed the FOS diet revealed a change in intestinal flora including an inversion of the ratio of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, which was followed by a significant increase in SCFAs in the cecum and a decrease in an oxidative stress marker in the serum. In the inner ear, gene expression of neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), its receptor, tyrosine kinase receptor b (Trkb), and the SCFA receptor, free fatty acid receptor 3 (FFAR3), were increased by FOS. In addition, the survival rate of SGNs in the inner ear was maintained in FOS-fed mice. Altogether, these results suggest that a compositional variation of the intestinal flora due to a prebiotic effect may be involved in the progression of SNHL. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Takako Kondo, Saori Saigo, Shinya Ugawa, Mai Kato, Yuto Yoshikawa, Noriyuki Miyoshi, Kenichi Tanabe. Prebiotic effect of fructo-oligosaccharides on the inner ear of DBA/2 J mice with early-onset progressive hearing loss. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. 2020 Jan;75:108247

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    PMID: 31707282

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