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Fate of Embryonic Stem Cells Transplanted Into the Deafened Mammalian Cochlea

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Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs), the primary afferent neurons of the cochlea, degenerate following a sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) due to lack of trophic support normally received from hair cells. Cell transplantation is emerging as a potential strategy for inner ear rehabilitation, as injected cells may be able to replace damaged SGNs in the deafened cochlea. An increase in the number of surviving SGNs may result in improved efficacy of cochlear implants (CIs). We examined the survival of partially differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells (MESCs), following xenograft transplantation into the deafened guinea pig cochlea (n = 15). Cells were delivered directly into the left scala tympani via microinjection through the round window. Small numbers of MESCs were detected in the scala tympani for up to 4 weeks following transplantation and a proportion of these cells retained expression of neurofilament protein 68 kDa in vivo. While this delivery method requires refinement for effective long-term replacement of damaged SGNs, small numbers of MESCs were capable of survival in the deafened mammalian cochlea for up to 4 weeks, without causing an inflammatory tissue response.

Keywords: Cell-based therapy; Cochlea; Deafness; Embryonic stem cell; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Otolaryngology, University of Melbourne, 3002, Australia, Bionic Ear Institute, Melbourne, 3002, Australia, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, 3002, Australia 2: Bionic Ear Institute, Melbourne, 3002, Australia 3: Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, 3052, Australia 4: ES Cell International, Singapore, 138667

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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