Journal of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Vol.V  Issue: 2: (JSRM code: 005020700004)

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Therapeutic potential of stem cells in auditory hair cell repair
Ryuji Hata*
(PASRM** 2009-001)

Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Shitsukawa, To-on, Ehime, Japan


The prevalence of acquired hearing loss is very high. About 10% of the total population and more than one third of the population over 65 years suffer from debilitating hearing loss. The most common type of hearing loss in adults is idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL). In the majority of cases, ISSHL is permanent and typically associated with loss of sensory hair cells in the organ of Corti. Following the loss of sensory hair cells, the auditory neurons undergo secondary degeneration. Sensory hair cells and auditory neurons do not regenerate throughout life, and loss of these cells is irreversible and cumulative.

However, recent advances in stem cell biology have gained hope that stem cell therapy comes closer to regenerating sensory hair cells in humans. A major advance in the prospects for the use of stem cells to restore normal hearing comes with the recent discovery that hair cells can be generated ex vivo from embryonic stem (ES) cells, adult inner ear stem cells and neural stem cells. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that stem cells can promote damaged cell repair in part by secreting diffusible molecules such as growth factors. These results suggest that stem-cell-based treatment regimens can be applicable to the damaged inner ear as future clinical applications.

Previously we have established an animal model of cochlear ischemia in gerbils and showed progressive hair cell loss up to 4 days after ischemia. Auditory brain stem response (ABR) recordings have demonstrated that this gerbil model displays severe deafness just after cochlear ischemia and gradually recovers thereafter. These pathological findings and clinical manifestations are reminiscent of ISSHL in humans. In this study, we have shown the effectiveness of stem cell therapy by using this animal model of ISSHL.

** Proceedings of Annual Symposium on Regenerative Medicine


Ryuji Hata,
Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine Shitsukawa,
To-on, Ehime, Japan

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