Spiral ganglion cells are essential for hearing and their irreversible degeneration in the inner ear is common in most types of hearing loss. Adult spiral ganglion cells are not able to regenerate.
Now, new evidence in a mouse model shows that spiral ganglion stem cells are capable of self-renewal and can be grown and induced to differentiate into mature spiral ganglion cells as well as neurons and glial cells.
"These findings are particularly interesting as they show that spiral ganglion stem cells can be propagated in-vitro," said BioResearch Open Access Editor Jane Taylor from University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
"These cells are normally poorly regenerated in the mammalian ear," Taylor added.
The researchers concluded that the self-renewing properties demonstrated by spiral ganglion stem cells make them a promising source of replacement cells for therapies designed to regenerate the neural structures of the inner ear.
The findings appeared in the journal BioResearch Open Access.