Staecker Hinrich; Galinovic-Schwartz, Vera; Liu, Wei; Lefebvre, Philippe; Kopke, Richard; Malgrange, Brigitte; Moonen, Gustave; Van De Water, Thomas R.The American Journal of Otology: May 1996 Basic Science: PDF Only Buy Abstract Summary: Auditory hair cells produce trophic factors that directly affect maturation and survival of auditory neurons. These factors include two members of the neurotrophin family: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin- 3 (NT-3). Loss of hair cells, as a result of either noise trauma or ototoxic damage, results in the degeneration of auditory neurons. An in vitro model of early postnatal rat organ of Corti/spiral ganglion explants was used to study the effects of deprivation and supplementation of nerve growth factor (NGF), BDNF, and NT-3 on neuronal survival. Immunolocalization of receptors for these neurotrophins correlated with their effectiveness as promoters of neuronal survival. BDNF affected early neuronal survival, whereas NT-3 was the most important survival factor for maturing auditory neurons. NGF was shown to maintain axonal morphology. Our results support the hypothesis that changes in the expression of these neurotrophins and their specific receptors in the maturing cochlea may control the postnatal processes of neuronal apoptosis and maturation of the innervation of both inner and outer hair cells. The results suggest that these growth factors have potential for preventing neuronal degeneration as well as enhancing the repair of damaged neuronal processes in the traumatized auditory system. © 1996, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.