The ototoxic damage that drugs such as neomycin, kanamycin, colistin, cisplatin, transplatin and carboplatin cause on outer and inner hair cells in postnatal day 3 rat cochlear explants was investigated. Phalloidin- fluorescein conjugate-stained stereocilia bundles of sensory hair cells were quantified by video image analysis as a measurement of ototoxic effect. The video image quantification system established dose-response curves for ototoxic drugs (e.g. calculation of an IC50) and allowed comparisons between several ototoxins from the same family. This methodology provided the means to assess the efficacy of otoprotectant agents in preventing ototoxicity. Poly-l-aspartate (10-5 M) and poly-l-glutamate (10-5 M) protected auditory hair cells from neomycin (10-3 M) toxicity while reduced glutathione (10-3 M) provided protection against cisplatin (10-4 M)- induced hair cell damage.
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