Growth factors as potential drugs for the sensory epithelia of the ear

Jeffrey T. Corwin, Mark E. Warchol, Linda D. Saffer, James E. Finley, Rende Gu, Paul R. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The highly ordered structures of the hearing and balance organs of vertebrate ears go through a coordinated sequence of cellular and morphogenetic events. It is to be expected that protein growth factors and other extracellular signals will regulate many events during embryonic development of the ear, including the induction of the ear, the specific induction of sensory epithelia, the proliferation of the cells that form the sensory epithelia, the differentiation of the sensory and supporting cells, and the attraction and maintenance of innervation. After embryonic development, growth factors will support cell survival and innervation of new sensory cells. In damaged sensory epithelia, supplementation of the normal growth factors in these tissues has the potential to influence cellular responses to trauma, to reduce cell death and to promote the replacement of dead cells through renewed proliferation and differentiation, so as to improve hearing and balance health via preventive and restorative treatments. Assessment of the influences of specific growth factors on the sensory epithelia of vertebrate ears is at an early stage: this paper provides a brief account of what we know from studies of normal and experimentally manipulated epithelia, discusses the current questions and suggests directions for future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalCIBA Foundation Symposia
Issue number196
StatePublished - 1996


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