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Exp Neurol. 2006 Mar;198(1):12-24. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Cell transplantation to the auditory nerve and cochlear duct.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


We have developed a technique to deliver cells to the inner ear without injuring the membranes that seal the endolymphatic and perilymphatic chambers. The integrity of these membranes is essential for normal hearing, and the technique should significantly reduce surgical trauma during cell transplantation. Embryonic stem cells transplanted at the internal auditory meatal portion of an atrophic auditory nerve migrated extensively along it. Four-five weeks after transplantation, the cells were found not only throughout the auditory nerve, but also in Rosenthal's canal and the scala media, the most distal portion of the auditory nervous system where the hair cells reside. Migration of the transplanted cells was more extensive following damage to the auditory nerve. In the undamaged nerve, migration was more limited, but the cells showed more signs of neuronal differentiation. This highlights an important balance between tissue damage and the potential for repair.

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