Institute for Biology and Molecular Genetics
Thomas Schimmang

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Gene and cell therapy

Gene and Cell therapy for Prevention of Hearing Loss

The transfer of stem cells into the inner ear for therapeutic purposes is an important approach to cure damage to the cochlea and vestibulum. A key issue is to provide an entry point for cell transplants into the inner ear that does not affect its physiologic functions. We have recently shown the feasibility of transferring ES cells into the inner ear via the utriculus. ES cells were injected via utriculostomy into the mouse inner ear. The distribution of the injected cells was determined using a beta-galactosidase marker gene expressed by the ES cells. Injected ES cells were found within the perilymph of the scala tympani and vestibuli. Moreover, ES cells were detected close to the cochlear sensory epithelium and spiral limbus. Continued research on the safe transfer of stem cells to the cochlea and stem cell differentiation within the inner ear may thus provide important insights for future stem cell-based therapies.
Embryonic stem cells, as well as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), mostly of murine origin (mMSC), have been shown to differentiate into inner ear sensory cells. A recent aim of our work is to differentiate human MSCs (hMSCs) into either hair cell-like or auditory neuron-like cell types. Application of methods used on mMSCs led to results somewhat different from those reported. Instead, we had to modify our culture conditions in order to obtain a significant increase in the expression of various gene combinations that characterize either hair cells or auditory neurons.

Recent publications:

Riethmacher D, Lim F, Schimmang T. 2006. Efficient transfer of HSV-1 amplicon vectors into embryonic stem cells and their derivatives.
Methods Mol Biol. 329, 265-272.

Praetorius M, Vicario I, Schimmang T. 2008 Efficient transfer of embryonic stem cells into the cochlea via a non-invasive vestibular route.
Acta Otolaryngol. 128, 720-723.

B. Durán Alonso, A. Feijoo Redondo, M. Conde de Felipe, E. Carnicero A. Sánchez García, J. García-Sancho, M.N. Rivolta, F. Giráldez and T. Schimmang. Generation of Inner Ear Sensory Cells from Bone-Marrow derived Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Submitted


Instituto de Biología y Genética Molecular
Universidad de Valladolid - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CIentíficas
C/ Sanz y Forés s/n
47003 - Valladolid - SPAIN
Phone: (+34) 983-184-818 Fax: (+34) 983-184-800

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