Background: Cisplatin is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent that can also cause ototoxic injury. One potential treatment for cisplatin-induced hearing loss involves the activation of endogenous inner ear stem cells, which may then produce replacement hair cells. In this series of experiments, we examined the effects of cisplatin exposure on both hair cells and resident stem cells of the mouse inner ear. Results: Treatment for 24 hr with 10 μM cisplatin caused significant loss of hair cells in the mouse utricle, but such damage was not evident until 4 days after the cisplatin exposure. In addition to killing hair cells, cisplatin treatment also disrupted the actin cytoskeleton in remaining supporting cells, and led to increased histone H2AX phosphorylation within the sensory epithelia. Finally, treatment with 10 μM cisplatin appeared to have direct toxic effects on resident stem cells in the mouse utricle. Exposure to cisplatin blocked the proliferation of isolated stem cells and prevented sphere formation when those cells were maintained in suspension culture. Conclusion: The results suggest that inner ear stem cells may be injured during cisplatin ototoxicity, thus limiting their ability to mediate sensory repair.
- Hair cell
- Supporting cell