To utilize the rapidly accumulating genetic information for developing new therapeutic technologies for inner ear disease, it is necessary to design technologies for expressing transgenes in the inner ear, especially in the organ of Corti. We examined the outcome of an adenovirus gene transfer into the organ of Corti via the scala media in guinea pigs. The transgene insert is the bacterial lacZ gene driven by a cytomegalovirus promoter. We demonstrate that the inoculation is detrimental to the hair cells that surround the site of inoculation, but the supporting cells in the organ of Corti survive and retain the ability to express the reporter transgene β-gal. The ability to deliver transgenes that are expressed in the supporting cells is an important step in the development of clinically applicable treatments that involve hair cell regeneration.
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