PerspectiveDevelopmental Biology

Life After Deaf for Hair Cells?

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Science  18 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5712, pp. 1056-1058
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109680

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Mammals have lost the ability to replace damaged sensory hair cells of the inner ear through the proliferation of remaining hair cells. In a Perspective, Taylor and Forge discuss exciting new work in mice that identifies the retinoblastoma protein as a key regulator of the nonproliferative state of inner ear hair cells ( Sage et al.). They postulate that blocking expression of the retinoblastoma protein may form the basis of therapies that could help to treat hearing impairments by coaxing hair cells to proliferate.