The loss of hair sensory cells is the main cause of deafness and imbalance with age. The inner ear of mammals contains a special population of cells that can form the basis for hearing restoration. The researchers of Harvard Medical School and Fudan University (China) engaged in search of the mechanism of hair cell regeneration.
They proved that blocking the Notch signaling pathway that controls the complex distribution of hair cells in inner ear, predetermines what cells eventually become the precursor cells - the basis of all tissues and organs in the body rights.
"The high level of activity of Notch stops the division of progenitor cells and the regeneration of hair cells in internal ear after birth, says Zheng-I Chen, associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard medical school. "We learned something new about this mechanism. It is known that suppressing the activity of Notch can push the progenitor cells to the restoration of hair cells. "
Scientists conducted an experiment and made sure that switching off Notch signals stimulates cell division. They have opened a new route to increase the activity of progenitor cells, which can become the basis for hearing restoration.
After blocking the Notch signaling path, proliferation of supporting cells occurs, which leads to the maturation of new hair cells in mice. The experiments were carried out on rodents directly and on cells taken from the inner ear of mice in a test tube.
By tracking the path of cell division, the scientists saw that after suppressing the Notch signal, progenitor cells with receptors of Lgr5 + became more sensitive to the Wnt signaling pathway, which is responsible for the maturation of new cells. As a result, they began to divide and differentiate into the hair cells of the inner ear.
The study opens a really new way to restore the hearing of adult people with the awakening of cells that cease to be shared immediately after birth.