Progenitor Cells from the Adult Human Inner Ear.

Senn, Pascal; Mina, Amir; Volkenstein, Stefan; Kranebitter, Veronika; Oshima, Kazuo; Heller, Stefan (2020). Progenitor Cells from the Adult Human Inner Ear. Anatomical record: advances in integrative anatomy and evolutionary biology, 303(3), pp. 461-470. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 10.1002/ar.24228

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Loss of inner ear hair cells leads to incurable balance and hearing disorders because these sensory cells do not effectively regenerate in humans. A potential starting point for therapy would be the stimulation of quiescent progenitor cells within the damaged inner ear. Inner ear progenitor/stem cells, which have been described in rodent inner ears, would be principal candidates for such an approach. Despite the identification of progenitor cell populations in the human fetal cochlea and in the adult human spiral ganglion, no proliferative cell populations with the capacity to generate hair cells have been reported in vestibular and cochlear tissues of adult humans. The present study aimed at filling this gap by isolating colony-forming progenitor cells from surgery- and autopsy-derived adult human temporal bones in order to generate inner ear cell types in vitro. Sphere-forming and mitogen-responding progenitor cells were isolated from vestibular and cochlear tissues. Clonal spheres grown from adult human utricle and cochlear duct were propagated for a limited number of generations. When differentiated in absence of mitogens, the utricle-derived spheres robustly gave rise to hair cell-like cells, as well as to cells expressing supporting cell-, neuron-, and glial markers, indicating that the adult human utricle harbors multipotent progenitor cells. Spheres derived from the adult human cochlear duct did not give rise to hair cell-like or neuronal cell types, which is an indication that human cochlear cells have limited proliferative potential but lack the ability to differentiate into major inner ear cell types. Anat Rec, 2019. © 2019 The Authors. The Anatomical Record published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association for Anatomy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)

UniBE Contributor:

Senn, Pascal


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




John Wiley & Sons, Inc.




Stefan Weder

Date Deposited:

27 Jan 2020 14:52

Last Modified:

19 Feb 2020 01:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

hair cell inner ear organ of Corti progenitor cell regeneration utricle




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