The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 557 - 570 (2007)

Vol 51, Issue 6-7

Special Issue: Ear Development

A network of growth and transcription factors controls neuronal differentation and survival in the developing ear

Published: 1 September 2007

Hortensia Sánchez-Calderón1, Marta Milo2, Yolanda León1,3 and Isabel Varela-Nieto1,*

1Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols", CSIC-UAM, Madrid, Spain, 2Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, U.K. and 3Departamento de Biología, Unidad de Fisiología Animal, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain


Inner ear neurons develop from the otic placode and connect hair cells with central neurons in auditory brain stem nuclei. Otic neurogenesis is a developmental process which can be separated into different cellular states that are characterized by a distinct combination of molecular markers. Neurogenesis is highly regulated by a network of extrinsic and intrinsic factors, whose participation in auditory neurogenesis is discussed. Trophic factors include the fibroblast growth factor, neurotrophins and insulin-like peptide families. The expression domains of transcription factor families and their roles in the regulation of intracellular signaling pathways associated with neurogenesis are also discussed. Understanding and defining the key factors and gene networks in the development and function of the inner ear represents an important step towards defeating deafness.


otic neurogenesis, IGF-I, FGF, inner ear, auditory ganglion, cochlear microarray

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