Inner ear stem cells might be transformed into auditory neurons that would reverse deafness, in line with a research led by Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists. But the method may make these cells divide too rapidly, posing a most cancers threat.
The encouraging information is that turning stem cells into auditory neurons might be managed – not less than in a Petri dish, mentioned Kelvin Y. Kwan, senior creator of the research and an badistant professor within the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience within the School of Arts and Sciences.
“It’s a cautionary tale. People say, ‘we’ll just put stem cells in and we’re going to replace lost neurons.’ We’re saying that ‘yes, we can make neurons,’ but you have other side effects that are unanticipated, such as increased proliferation of stem cells. So this will guide us toward a better strategy for cell replacement therapies,”
Hair Cell Loss
So-called hair cells within the inside ear convert sounds into neural alerts which can be relayed to the mind by spiral ganglion neurons, the research notes.
Hearing loss from overexposure to noise causes hair cell loss, extreme harm to neuronal processes and gradual degeneration of auditory neurons. The neurons don’t regenerate as soon as they’re misplaced.
“Hearing loss impacts about 15 percent of the American population – probably more,” Kwan mentioned. “Over the years, you don’t realize that you’re not hearing well until you get tested. We’re one of the few labs trying to figure out how to address the hearing loss issue.”
In their research, the scientists over-expressed a gene known as NEUROG1 to show inside ear stem cells into auditory neurons.
“But since that leads to increased cell division and NEUROG1 is used in other stem cells to make other types of neurons, scientists in other fields should be aware that when using this factor, they’ll probably also increase cell proliferation,”
The Rutgers scientists additionally found that chromatin – DNA studded with histone proteins – influences how NEUROG1 features.
Stem cell-derived neuron grafted onto a mouse cochlea within the inside ear that lacked neurons. The new neuron is marked crimson, hair cells that convert sounds into neural alerts are inexperienced, and hair bundles are blue.
Credit: Kelvin Y. Kwan/Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Changes in chromatin could badist scale back undesirable stem cell proliferation and might be achieved by including medication to experimental cultures in Petri dishes, Kwan mentioned.
“Ideally, we would change the chromatin state before we start overexpressing NEUROG1 and prevent unwanted stem cell proliferation,”
Top Image: Hair cells in a rooster listening to organ. The nucleus is purple and hair bundles are highlighted inexperienced. Credit: Kelvin Y. Kwan/Rutgers University-New Brunswick