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Keywords:

  • neurotrophin;
  • BDNF;
  • NT3;
  • cochlear implant

Abstract

Severe to profound deafness is most often secondary to a loss of or injury to cochlear mechanosensory cells, and there is often an associated loss of the peripheral auditory neural structures, specifically the spiral ganglion neurons and peripheral auditory fibers. Cochlear implantation is currently our best hearing rehabilitation strategy for severe to profound deafness. These implants work by directly electrically stimulating the remnant auditory neural structures within the deafened cochlea. When administered to the deafened cochlea in animal models, neurotrophins, specifically brain derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3, have been shown to dramatically improve spiral ganglion neuron survival and stimulate peripheral auditory fiber regrowth. In animal models, neurotrophins administered in combination with cochlear implantation has resulted in significant improvements in the electrophysiological and psychophysical measures of outcome. While further research must be done before these therapies can be applied clinically, neurotrophin therapies for the inner ear show great promise in enhancing CI outcomes and the treatment of hearing loss. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodiclas, Inc.