We have demonstrated that selected growth factors are involved in regulating survival and proliferation of progenitor cells derived from the neonatal rat organ of Corti (OC). The protective and regenerative effects of these defined growth factors on the injured organ of Corti were therefore investigated. The organ of Corti dissected from the Wistar rat pups (P3-P5) was split into apical, middle, and basal parts, explanted and cultured with or without neomycin and growth factors. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), and epidermal growth factor (EGF) protected the inner hair cells (IHCs) and outer hair cells (OHCs) from neomycin ototoxicity. Using EGF, IGF-1, and FGF-2 alone induced no protective effect on the survival of auditory hair cells. Combining 2 growth factors (EGF + IGF-1, EGF + FGF-2, or IGF-1 + FGF-2) gave statistically protective effects. Similarly, combining all three growth factors effectively protected auditory hair cells from the ototoxic insult. None of the growth factors induced regeneration of hair cells in the explants injured with neomycin. Thus various combinations of the three defined factors (IGF-1, FGF-2, and EGF) can protect the auditory hair cells from the neomycin-induced ototoxic damage, but no regeneration was seen. This offers a possible novel approach to the treatment of hearing loss.
Keywords: growth factors; hair cells; neomycin; ototoxicity; protection.
© 2014 International Federation for Cell Biology.