The Role of Neurotrophins in Hearing Loss and their Implications in Developing Innovative Therapies

Author(s): Pasquale Cocchiaro, Cristina Giorgio, Rubina Novelli, Andrea Aramini, Marcello Allegretti, Laura Brandolini

Neurotrophins (NTs) are pleiotropic molecules that can exert a variety of function in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, modulating survival, development and function of neurons. Due to their crucial involvement in the development and innervation of the inner ear, NTs have been considered as potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of hearing loss. Positive results obtained in various preclinical models of hearing loss opened the way for the clinical use of NTs to counteract synaptopathy, improve cochlear implant performance or prevent long-term neural loss after noise exposure. However, although promising results have been obtained also in clinical trials, NT treatments for hearing loss have not yet achieved the clinical practice. Here, we will review the repair and regeneration potential of inner ear cells and discuss how NTs can contribute to these processes and can thus be used for the treatment of hearing loss. In this context, we will examine the limitations of current NT treatments and the status of development of novel NT-based potential therapeutic approaches for hearing diseases.

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