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Cochlear Protection by Local Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Application Using Biodegradable Hydrogel


  • This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Regenerative Medicine Realization from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology of Japan.


Objective: The aim of this experimental study was to examine the potential of local recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1 (rhIGF-1) application through a biodegradable hydrogel for the treatment of cochleae.

Methods: A hydrogel immersed with rhIGF-1 was placed on the round window membrane of Sprague-Dawley rats while a hydrogel immersed with physiological saline was applied to control animals. On day 3 after drug application, the animals were exposed to white noise at 120 dB sound pressure level (SPL) for 2 hours. Cochlear function was monitored using measurements of auditory brain stem responses (ABRs) at frequencies of 8, 16, and 32 kHz. The temporal bones were collected 7 or 30 days after noise exposure and the loss of hair cells was quantitatively analyzed.

Results: Local rhIGF-1 treatment significantly reduced the elevation of ABR thresholds on days 7 and 30 after noise exposure. Histologic analysis revealed that local rhIGF-1 treatment significantly prohibited the loss of outer hair cells.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that local IGF-1 application through the biodegradable hydrogel has the potential for protection of cochleae from noise trauma.