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Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 23;5:11542. doi: 10.1038/srep11542.

Latent progenitor cells as potential regulators for tympanic membrane regeneration.

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Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Yanbian University, 1327 Juzi Street, Yanji, Jilin 133000, P.R. China.
Department of Rural and Biosystems Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biosystems &Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Department of Otolaryngology, Ajou University School of Medicine, San 5 Woncheon-dong, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 443-721, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biosystems Engineering, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea.


Tympanic membrane (TM) perforation, in particular chronic otitis media, is one of the most common clinical problems in the world and can present with sensorineural healing loss. Here, we explored an approach for TM regeneration where the latent progenitor or stem cells within TM epithelial layers may play an important regulatory role. We showed that potential TM stem cells present highly positive staining for epithelial stem cell markers in all areas of normal TM tissue. Additionally, they are present at high levels in perforated TMs, especially in proximity to the holes, regardless of acute or chronic status, suggesting that TM stem cells may be a potential factor for TM regeneration. Our study suggests that latent TM stem cells could be potential regulators of regeneration, which provides a new insight into this clinically important process and a potential target for new therapies for chronic otitis media and other eardrum injuries.

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