Regenerative proliferation occurs in the inner-ear sensory epithelial
of warm-blooded vertebrates after insult. To determine how this proliferation
is controlled in the mature mammalian inner ear, several growth factors
were tested for effects on progenitor-cell division in cultured mouse
vestibular sensory epithelia. Cell proliferation was induced in the
sensory epithelium by transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha)
in a dose-dependent manner. Proliferation was also induced by epidermal
growth factor (EGF) when supplemented with insulin, but not EGF alone.
These observations suggest that stimulation of the EGF receptors
by TGF-alpha binding, or EGF (plus insulin) binding, stimulates cell
proliferation in the mature mammalian vestibular sensory epithelium.
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