Human Embryonic Stem Cells Used for Restoring Hearing in Gerbils; Humans Turn Soon

Human-Embryonic-StemFinally, the scientists by implanting human embryonic stem cells to deaf gerbils have succeeded in restoring their partial hearing. With this achievement now there is a hope that very soon a similar treatment will be introduced for treating hearing loss in humans as well.

One of the commonly known causes of hearing loss is auditory neuropathy. It means when the auditory nerves of an ear that are generally responsible for transmitting sound signals from the ear to the brain get damaged. When researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK found 18 gerbils suffering from the same problem, they replaced their auditory nerves by those taken from the embryonic stem cells of human.

These undifferentiated embryonic stem cells were first transformed into auditory neurons. For this they were initially introduced to chemicals for the inducing process and then these neurons were placed into the gerbils’ ears. After a period of ten weeks, scientists found that most of these transplanted cells had turn into fibers that connects to the brainstem.

Brainstem is the area where several relay centers that are required for hearing are found. To give it a check, these gerbils were then introduced to increased volumes. As a result the researchers found a 46% increase in their sensitivity which was far better than constant levels.