Monday, September 07, 2009

Helping hearing-impaired using stem cells, Indiana University researchers

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Researchers at Indiana University School of Remedy are a few steps closer to the day when a profoundly deaf patient’s own bone marrow cells could be Euphemistic pre-owned to let him or her listen to the world.

The IU group, led by Eri Hashino, Ph.D., was able to transform, in the laboratory, stem cells taken from adult bone marrow into cells with innumerable of the characteristics of sensory courage cells — neurons — found in the ear. The results suggest that these adult withstand cells could be worn to treat deaf patients in the subsequent, said Dr. Hashino, an associate professor and Ruth C. Holton Scholar in the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.

The cells in use accustomed to in the investigate are called marrow stromal cells — a variety of stem cell from which corpulent, bone and cartilage normally forth.

“We were interested in marrow stromal cells because of their quiescent for despise in autologous cell-based therapy,” said Dr. Hashino, referring to stall transplantation in which a patient’s own cells are used in treatment. The cells can be collected easily and kept alive in the laboratory until needed, she said.

Other researchers had previously shown that the marrow stromal cells could be induced to transform into neuronal cells, but it wasn’t vault settle whether, or how, the cells could be forward transformed into salutary specialized neurons.

In a two-step process, Dr. Hashino and her colleagues first cultivated mouse marrow stromal cells with chemicals known to encourage stems cells to change into raw neurons. The bone marrow cells took the aspect and other characteristics of neurons. Next, they exposed the cells to two molecules that are secreted from about tissues of the ear during embryonic increment. The two molecules — known as Sonic hedgehog and retinoic acid — together caused the marrow stromal cells to further develop into cells with many of the characteristics of auditory neurons, such as the comportment of specific genes and proteins.

Dr. Hashino said she and her colleagues are beginning new experiments to probe the feasibility of marrow stromal cell transplantation to stimulate the growth of the coolness cells that are often missing from the inner ears of patients with mysterious hearing loss.

“Sonic hedgehog and retinoic acid are molecules found in embryonic tissues, but not in of age tissues,” said Dr. Hashino. “This suggests that treating marrow-derived stem cells with these molecules before transplantation mightiness greatly enhance the feasibility that the process would result in expansion of predetermined sensory neurons.”

The research was published Cortege 18 in the online early copy of the Proceedings of the Governmental Academy of Sciences, and is scheduled to appear in the choice of words edition of the list March 29.

Contact: Eric Schoch
[email protected]
Indiana University

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