Hair cell regeneration in the bird cochlea following noise damage or ototoxic drug damage

Douglas A. Cotanche, Kenneth H. Lee, Jennifer S. Stone, Daniel A. Picard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Hair cells are sensory cells that transduce motion into neural signals. In the cochlea, they are used to detect sound waves in the environment and turn them into auditory signals that can be processed in the brain. Hair cells in the cochlea of birds and mammals were thought to be produced only during embryogenesis and, once made, they were expected to last throughout the lifetime of the animal. Thus, any loss of hair cells due to trauma or disease was thought to lead to permanent impairment of auditory function. Recently, however, studies from a number of laboratories have shown that hair cells in the avian cochlea can be regenerated after acoustic trauma or ototoxic drug damage. This regeneration is accompanied by a repair of the sensory organ and associated tissues and results in a recovery of auditory function. In this review, we examine and compare the structural events that lead to hair cell loss after noise damage and ototoxic drug damage as well as the processes involved in the recovery of the epithelium and the regeneration of the hair cells. Moreover, we examine functional recovery and how it relates to the structural recovery. Finally, we investigate the evidence for the hypothesis that supporting cells in the basilar papilla act as the progenitor cells for the regenerated hair cells and examine the cellular events required to stimulate the progenitor cells to leave the quiescent state, re-enter the cell cycle, and divide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAnatomy and Embryology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994


  • Avian
  • Basilar papilla
  • Hair cell
  • Progenitor cells
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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