Soybean β-Conglycinin Prevents Age-Related Hearing Impairment

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 8;10(9):e0137493. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137493. eCollection 2015.


Obesity-related complications are associated with the development of age-related hearing impairment. β-Conglycinin (β-CG), one of the main storage proteins in soy, offers multiple health benefits, including anti-obesity and anti-atherosclerotic effects. Here, to elucidate the potential therapeutic application of β-CG, we investigated the effect of β-CG on age-related hearing impairment. Male wild-type mice (age 6 months) were randomly divided into β-CG-fed and control groups. Six months later, the body weight was significantly lower in β-CG-fed mice than in the controls. Consumption of β-CG rescued the hearing impairment observed in control mice. Cochlear blood flow also increased in β-CG-fed mice, as did the expression of eNOS in the stria vascularis (SV), which protects vasculature. β-CG consumption also ameliorated oxidative status as assessed by 4-HNE staining. In the SV, lipofuscin granules of marginal cells and vacuolar degeneration of microvascular pericytes were decreased in β-CG-fed mice, as shown by transmission electron microscopy. β-CG consumption prevented loss of spiral ganglion cells and reduced the frequencies of lipofuscin granules, nuclear invaginations, and myelin vacuolation. Our observations indicate that β-CG ameliorates age-related hearing impairment by preserving cochlear blood flow and suppressing oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Plant / administration & dosage*
  • Antigens, Plant / chemistry
  • Body Weight
  • Cochlea / blood supply
  • Cochlea / drug effects
  • Cochlea / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Globulins / administration & dosage*
  • Globulins / chemistry
  • Glycine max / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Presbycusis / drug therapy*
  • Presbycusis / pathology
  • Seed Storage Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Seed Storage Proteins / chemistry
  • Soybean Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Soybean Proteins / chemistry


  • Antigens, Plant
  • Globulins
  • Seed Storage Proteins
  • Soybean Proteins
  • beta-conglycinin protein, Glycine max

Supplementary concepts

  • Age-Related Hearing Impairment 1

Grants and funding

This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Fuji Foundation for Protein Research.