Stem cells from the brain could be transplanted into the ear to cure hearing loss.
Often, age and overstimulation can damage ciliated cells that act like small microphones, allowing us to hear sounds, noise, and voices and are located in the deep ear (cochlea). About 10% of people experience damage to the cells in this area which leads to hearing loss. The loss of these cells is irreversible, but according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of scientists from the University of California substituted them with stem cells taken from another area in the brain.
Ependymal cells (marking the boundary of the cavity of the central nervous system and favor cerebrospinal liquid circulation induced by the beating of the cilia) are located in the coating of the lateral ventricle of the brain. These cells have similar characteristics to ciliated cells in the deep ear, but are able to reproduce. The researchers, coordinated by Dongguang Wei, believe that cerebral cells could be transplanted from the brain into the ear, where they could replace ciliated cells and restore lost hearing.
Researchers are convinced that the damaged cells in the inner ear can be substituted with stem cells taken from the lateral ventricle in the brain, with hopes of curing nervous system diseases. Right now the study is in the laboratory testing phase, and concrete results will hopefully arrive in the future.