Originally Published June 30, 2023: www.nature.com

Authors: A Catalina Vélez-OrtegaRuben StepanyanStephanie E EdelmannSara Torres-GallegoChanny ParkDesislava A MarinkovaJoshua S NowackiGhanshyam P SinhaGregory I Frolenkov


TRPA1 channels are expressed in nociceptive neurons, where they detect noxious stimuli, and in the mammalian cochlea, where their function is unknown. Here we show that TRPA1 activation in the supporting non-sensory Hensen's cells of the mouse cochlea causes prolonged Ca2+ responses, which propagate across the organ of Corti and cause long-lasting contractions of pillar and Deiters' cells. Caged Ca2+ experiments demonstrated that, similar to Deiters' cells, pillar cells also possess Ca2+-dependent contractile machinery. TRPA1 channels are activated by endogenous products of oxidative stress and extracellular ATP. Since both these stimuli are present in vivo after acoustic trauma, TRPA1 activation after noise may affect cochlear sensitivity through supporting cell contractions. Consistently, TRPA1 deficiency results in larger but less prolonged noise-induced temporary shift of hearing thresholds, accompanied by permanent changes of latency of the auditory brainstem responses. We conclude that TRPA1 contributes to the regulation of cochlear sensitivity after acoustic trauma.