Pharmacologic treatment of inner ear: From basic science to the patient

Philippe P. Lefebvre, H. Staecker, T. Van De Water, G. Moonen, B. Malgrange

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Most of the deafness are of sensorineural origin and are characterized by a loss of hair cells and of spiral ganglion neurons. At the present time, hearing aids are the only treatment. However, in some diseases of the inner ear, pharmacological treatment have been proposed and used successfully. In this paper, we will review some basic science aspects of the biology of the neurosensory structures of the inner ear, in particular of the auditory neurons, that lead to the rationale of some treatments for the inner ear diseases. Developmental studies, neuronal cell culture experiments, and analyses of gene knockout animals reveal a number of growth factors which are important for the rescue and repair of injured auditory neurons in the inner ear. These factors rescue the injured auditory neurons in vivo. Furthermore, perfusion of antioxydant to the cochlea prevented the hearing loss induced by cisplatin. These in vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrate that it is possible to manipulate the neurosensory structures of the inner ear and provide an effective treatment to prevent the degeneration of the neurons. The molecules or drugs can be administered locally to the inner ear through a direct perilymphatic perfusion or through the round window membrane. As an example, we will discuss the treatment of patients suffering from idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss which can be treated successfully by a perfusion through the round window membrane, improving their hearing threshold and their speech discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalActa Oto-Rhino-Laryngologica Belgica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 26 2002


  • Cochlear perfusion
  • Development
  • Neurotrophin
  • Ototoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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