In the auditory system, efforts to reduce degeneration of spiral ganglion neurons have the immediate objective of improving clinical benefits of cochlear implants, which are small devices designed to stimulate spiral ganglion neurons electronically. Recent studies have indicated several neurotrophins can enhance survival of spiral ganglion neurons. However, the strategy for application of neurotrophins in inner ear is still a matter of debate. In this study, we examined the potential of cell therapy as a strategy for application of neurotrophins in the inner ear. Neural stem cells obtained from green fluorescent protein-transgenic mice were used as donor cells. Medium containing neural stem cells was injected into mouse inner ear. Histological analysis 4 weeks later revealed that transplant-derived cells survived in inner ear and that most transplant-derived cells in the cochlea had differentiated into glial cells. Moreover, expression of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor was observed in transplant-derived cells. These findings indicate that transplantation of neural stem cells can be a useful strategy for application of neurotrophins in inner ear.
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