Neural Cells Can Mature into Ear Sensory Cells

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have coaxed cells from the brain to mature into the minute hair cells in the ear that are required for hearing. For many people with hearing loss, these tiny hair cells have died, leaving people unable to sense vibrations caused by sound. Regrowing functional hair cells that will sway in response to sound and send appropriate signals to the brain has been a major goal for stem cell researchers. In this work, the team found a population of cells in the lateral ventricle of the brain that they were able to transform into the delicate hair cells. The team is now testing whether those cells are able to transmit sound signals in animal models.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: December 30, 2008
CIRM funding: Dongguang Wei (T1-00006), Ebenezer Yamoah (RS1-00453)

Related Information: UC Davis Health Care System