Pioglitazone represents an effective therapeutic target in preventing oxidative/inflammatory cochlear damage induced by noise exposure.

Fabiola Paciello, Anna Rita Fetoni, Claudio Grassi, Gaetano Paludetti, Rolando Rolesi, Diana Troiani, Matthew B. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent progress in hearing loss research has provided strong evidence for the imbalance of cellular redox status and inflammation as common predominant mechanisms of damage affecting the organ of Corti including noise induced hearing loss. The discovery of a protective molecule acting on both mechanisms is challenging. The thiazolidinediones, a class of antidiabetic drugs including pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, have demonstrated diverse pleiotrophic effects in many tissues where they exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, tissue protective effects and regulators of redox balance acting as agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). They are members of the family of ligand regulated nuclear hormone receptors that are also expressed in several cochlear cell types, including the outer hair cells. In this study, we investigated the protective capacity of pioglitazone in a model of noise-induced hearing loss in Wistar rats and the molecular mechanisms underlying this protective effects. Specifically, we employed a formulation of pioglitazone in a biocompatible thermogel providing rapid, uniform and sustained inner ear drug delivery via transtympanic injection. Following noise exposure (120 dB, 10 kHz, 1 h), different time schedules of treatment were employed: we explored the efficacy of pioglitazone given immediately (1 h) or at delayed time points (24 and 48 h) after noise exposure and the time course and extent of hearing recovery were assessed. We found that pioglitazone was able to protect auditory function at the mid-high frequencies and to limit cell death in the cochlear basal/middle turn, damaged by noise exposure. Immunofluorescence and western blot analysis provided evidence that pioglitazone mediates both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects by decreasing NF-κB and IL-1β expression in the cochlea and opposing the oxidative damage induced by noise insult. These results suggest that intratympanic pioglitazone can be considered a valid therapeutic strategy for attenuating noise-induced hearing loss and cochlear damage, reducing inflammatory signaling and restoring cochlear redox balance. Copyright © 2018 Paciello, Fetoni, Rolesi, Wright, Grassi, Troiani and Paludetti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Acoustic trauma
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Audiology
  • PPAR agonist
  • Personalized medicine


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