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Lin28 Neuronally Reprograms Inner Ear Glia

The loss or damage of auditory neurons can lead to sensorineural hearing loss and deafness, and treatments such as amplification and cochlear implants rely on surviving neurons to convey auditory signals to the brain. Regeneration strategies that focus on endogenous cell therapy may permit the replacement of lost neurons to restore the auditory circuit. In their new STEM CELLS study, researchers led by Albert S.B. Edge (Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) use a transgenic mouse model to establish that Plp1‐positive glial cells of the inner ear have a capacity for regeneration and differentiate into neurons after transient activation of the Lin28 neural stem cell regulator. Kempfle et al. present evidence that Lin28 acts through the Sox2 and Hmga2 stem cell regulatory genes to stimulate proliferation and reprogramming of inner ear glia to neurons, thus raising the possibility of a new avenue for regeneration that could replace dying neurons in auditory neuropathy.