Gene Therapy in the Inner Ear Using Adenovirus VectorsHusseman J. · Raphael Y.
aDivision of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Diego, Calif., and bKresge Hearing Research Institute, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA
Therapies for the protection and regeneration of auditory hair cells are of great interest given the significant monetary and lifestyle impact of hearing loss. The past decade has seen tremendous advances in the use of adenoviral vectors to achieve these aims. Preliminary data demonstrated the functional capacity of this technique as adenoviral-induced expression of neurotrophic and growth factors protected hair cells and spiral ganglion neurons from ototoxic insults. Subsequent efforts confirmed the feasibility of adenoviral transfection of cells in the auditory neuroepithelium via cochleostomy into the scala media. Most recently, efforts have focused on regeneration of depleted hair cells. Mammalian hearing loss is generally considered a permanent insult as the auditory epithelium lacks a basal layer capable of producing new hair cells. Recently, the transcription factor Atoh1 has been found to play a critical role in hair cell differentiation. Adenoviral-mediated overexpression of Atoh1 in culture and in vivo have shown the ability to regenerate auditory and vestibular hair cells by causing transdifferentiation of neighboring epithelial-supporting cells. Functional recovery of both the auditory and vestibular systems has been documented following adenoviral induced Atoh1 overexpression.
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