Despite the excellent antimicrobial activity of aminoglycoside antibiotics, permanent inner ear damage associated with the use of these drugs has resulted in the need to develop strategies to address the ototoxic risk given their widespread use. In a previous study, we showed that avocado oil protects ear hair cells from damage caused by neomycin. However, the detailed mechanism by which this protection occurs is still unclear. Here, we investigated the auditory cell-protective mechanism of enhanced functional avocado oil extract (DKB122). RNA sequencing followed by pathway analysis revealed that DKB122 has the potential to enhance the expression of detoxification and antioxidant genes associated with glutathione metabolism (Hmox4, Gsta4, Mgst1, and Abcc3) in HEI-OC1 cells. Additionally, DKB122 effectively decreased ROS levels, resulting in the inhibition of apoptosis in HEI-OC1 cells. The expression of the inflammatory genes that encode chemokines and interleukins was also downregulated by DKB122 treatment. Consistent with these results, DKB122 significantly inhibited p65 nuclear migration induced by TNF-α or LPS in HEI-OC1 cells and THP-1 cells and the expression of inflammatory chemokine and interleukin genes induced by TNF-α was significantly reduced. Moreover, DKB122 treatment increased LC3-II and decreased p62 in HEI-OC1 cells, suggesting that DKB122 increases autophagic flux. These results suggest that DKB122 has otoprotective effects attributable to its antioxidant activity, induction of antioxidant gene expression, anti-inflammatory activity, and autophagy activation.
Keywords: aminoglycoside; avocado oil; ear hair cell; hearing loss; ototoxicity.