Maintaining good hearing: calorie restriction, Sirt3, and glutathione

Exp Gerontol. 2013 Oct;48(10):1091-5. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.02.014. Epub 2013 Feb 20.


Reducing calorie intake extends the lifespan of a variety of experimental models and delays progression of age-related hearing loss (AHL). AHL is a common feature of aging and is characterized by age-related decline of hearing associated with loss of sensory hair cells, spiral ganglion neurons, and/or stria vascularis degeneration in the cochlea. Sirtuins are a family of NAD(+)-dependent enzymes that regulate lifespan in lower organisms and have emerged as broad regulators of cellular fate. Our recent study indicated that mitochondrial Sirt3, a member of the sirtuin family, mediates the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction (CR) on AHL in mice. Interestingly, we also found that weight loss alone may not be sufficient for maintaining normal hearing. How does CR slow the progression of AHL through regulation of Sirt3? Here we review the evidence that during CR, Sirt3 slows the progression of AHL by promoting the glutathione-mediated mitochondrial antioxidant defense system in mice. A significant reduction in food consumption in one's daily life may not be a desirable and realistic option for most people. Therefore, identification/discovery of compounds that induce the activation of SIRT3 or glutathione reductase, or that increase mitochondrial glutathione levels has potential for maintaining good hearing through mimicking the anti-aging effects of CR in human inner ear cells.

Keywords: Age-related hearing loss; Glutathione; Oxidative stress; ROS; Sirtuin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / physiology
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione / physiology*
  • Hearing Loss / genetics
  • Hearing Loss / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sirtuin 3 / genetics
  • Sirtuin 3 / metabolism
  • Sirtuin 3 / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Cadherins
  • Cdh23 protein, mouse
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • SIRT3 protein, human
  • Sirtuin 3
  • Glutathione