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Artificial & Replacement Organs & Tissues Regenerative Medicine Sensory

Brain cell transplant may reverse hearing loss

10 years, 5 months ago

3361  0
Posted on Dec 09, 2008, 7 a.m. By Rich Hurd

New research suggests that it may be possible to reverse a common form of hearing loss by transplanting cells taken from the brain into the ear.

New research suggests that it may be possible to reverse a common form of hearing loss by transplanting cells taken from the brain into the ear.

Auditory hair cell defect, where the hair cells (HCs) in the inner ear are damaged either by aging or overstimulation, is currently irreversible because HCs have a limited capacity to regenerate. However, Dr Dongguang Wei, from the University of California at Davis, and colleagues have found that  ependymal cells, which are located in a part of the brain called the lateral ventricle, have similar characteristics to HCs – but, unlike HCs, they have “proliferative potential”, meaning that they have the ability to regenerate.

The researchers believe that it may be possible to transplant the ependymal cells from a person's brain into their ear, where they would take on the role of hair cells, and, theoretically, should restore their hearing. Tests of the potential cure for this type of hearing loss are already underway.

Wei D, Levic S, Nie L, Gao WQ, Petit C, Jones EG, Yamoah EN. Cells of adult brain germinal zone have properties akin to hair cells and can be used to replace inner ear sensory cells after damage. PNAS. Published online before print December 8th 2008. doi:10.1073/pnas.0808044105

 

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