Epidermal growth factor upregulates production of supernumerary hair cells in neonatal rat organ of corti explants

Philippe P. Lefebvre, Brigitte Malgrange, Marc Thiry, Thomas R. Van De Water, Gustave Moonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The organ of Corti is highly ordered, with a single row of inner hair cells and three rows of outer hair cells. The number of hair cells produced was thought to be limited by the time of their terminal mitosis (i.e. E14 in the mouse). However, exogenous application of retinoic acid has been shown to stimulate the formation of supernumerary hair cells in organ of Corti explants from E13 to E16 mouse embryos. Using late embryonic and neonatal rat organ of Corti explants, we investigated the potential for production of supernumerary hair cells in more mature auditory sensory epithelia. When newborn rat organ of Corti explants were cultured under control conditions, an area of supernumerary hair cells was observed in a segment of organ of Corti that was at the junction between the basal and middle turns. In these areas of supernumerary hair cells the number of hair cells increased per unit of length, but remained constant per surface unit, further demonstrating the supernumerary character of this phenomenon. Organ of Corti explants treated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) showed a 50% increase in the length of the organ of Corti segment containing supernumerary hair cells. Upregulation of supernumerary hair cell formation by EGF was found to start and be maximal at birth (P0) and to disappear by 2 days after birth (P2). Treatment of EGF stimulated P0 explants with an antimitotic drug, cytosine arabinoside (ARAc), demonstrated that the production of supernumerary hair cells occurred independently of cell division.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-145
Number of pages4
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cochlea
  • Critical period
  • Inner ear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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