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Neurosci Lett. 1996 Feb 16;205(1):17-20.

New hair cells arise from supporting cell conversion in the acoustically damaged chick inner ear.

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Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0648, USA.

Erratum in

  • Neurosci Lett 1996 May 24;210(1):73.


Supporting cell mitosis contributes significantly to hair cell regeneration in the acoustically damaged bird inner ear. Yet there may be another mechanism of hair cell replacement: supporting cell conversion. This study used cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C), an inhibitor of DNA synthesis, to better determine whether supporting cells could transdifferentiate into hair cells without cell division. Chicks received Ara-C injections after acoustic overstimulation. Scanning microscopic studies of the basilar papillae revealed several unpaired, immature hair cells. To ensure Ara-C's blockage of DNA synthesis, one group of birds received both Ara-C and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), while another group had BrdU only. Immunocytochemical analysis of Ara-C/BrdU and BrdU papillae indicated zero and 16 dividing cells, respectively. This difference confirmed that Ara-C blocked DNA synthesis, arresting supporting cell mitosis. These data strongly suggest that supporting cell can convert into hair cells.

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