Vision, olfaction, hearing, and balance are mediated by receptors that reside in specialized sensory epithelial organs. Age-related degeneration of the photoreceptors in the retina and the hair cells in the cochlea, caused by macular degeneration and sensorineural hearing loss, respectively, affect a growing number of individuals. Although sensory receptor cells in the mammalian retina and inner ear show only limited or no regeneration, in many nonmammalian vertebrates, these sensory epithelia show remarkable regenerative potential. We summarize the current state of knowledge of regeneration in the specialized sense organs in both nonmammalian vertebrates and mammals and discuss possible areas where new advances in regenerative medicine might provide approaches to successfully stimulate sensory receptor cell regeneration. The field of regenerative medicine is still in its infancy, but new approaches using stem cells and reprogramming suggest ways in which the potential for regeneration may be restored in individuals suffering from sensory loss.
"The genetic and molecular determinants of neurogenesis in the olfactory epithelia appear to be largely conserved between embryonic stages and postnatal stages. Interestingly, this same process is also conserved amongst epithelia capable of regeneration (auditory and visual, for example; for a recent extensive review please see Bermingham-McDonogh and Reh, 2011). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurogenesis continues well beyond embryonic and early postnatal ages in three areas of the nervous system. The subgranular zone supplies new neurons to the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. The subventricular zone supplies new interneurons to the olfactory bulb, and the olfactory neuroepithelia generate new excitatory sensory neurons that send their axons to the olfactory bulb. The latter two areas are of particular interest as they contribute new neurons to both ends of a first-level circuit governing olfactory perception. The vomeronasal organ and the main olfactory epithelium comprise the primary peripheral olfactory epithelia. These anatomically distinct areas share common features, as each exhibits extensive neurogenesis well beyond the juvenile phase of development. Here we will discuss the effect of age on the structural and functional significance of neurogenesis in the vomeronasal and olfactory epithelia, from juvenile to advanced adult ages, in several common model systems. We will next discuss how age affects the regenerative capacity of these neural stem cells in response to injury. Finally, we will consider the integration of newborn neurons into an existing circuit as it is modified by the age of the animal.
Frontiers in Neuroscience 06/2014; 8(8):182. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2014.00182 · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of organs have the intrinsic ability to regenerate, a distinctive feature that varies among organisms. Organ regeneration is a process not fully yet understood. However, when its underlying mechanisms are unraveled, it holds tremendous therapeutic potential for humans. In this review, we chose to summarize the repair and regenerative potential of the following organs and organ systems: thymus, adrenal gland, thyroid gland, intestine, lungs, heart, liver, blood vessels, germ cells, nervous system, eye tissues, hair cells, kidney and bladder, skin, hair follicles, pancreas, bone, and cartilage. For each organ, a review of the following is presented: (a) factors, pathways, and cells that are involved in the organ's intrinsic regenerative ability, (b) contribution of exogenous cells - such as progenitor cells, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and bone marrow-, adipose- and umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells - in repairing and regenerating organs in the absence of an innate intrinsic regenerative capability, (c) and the progress made in engineering bio-artificial scaffolds, tissues, and organs. Organ regeneration is a promising therapy that can alleviate humans from diseases that have not been yet cured. It is also superior to already existing treatments that utilize exogenous sources to substitute for the organ's lost structure and/or function(s).
Birth Defects Research Part C Embryo Today Reviews 03/2012; 96(1):1-29. DOI:10.1002/bdrc.21006 · 2.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rod and cone photoreceptors are specialized sensory cells that mediate vision. Transcriptional controls are critical for the development and long-term survival of photoreceptors; when these controls become ineffective, retinal dysfunction or degenerative disease may result. This review discusses the role of nuclear receptors, a class of ligand-regulated transcription factors, at key stages of photoreceptor life in the mammalian retina. Nuclear receptors with known ligands, such as retinoids or thyroid hormone, together with several orphan receptors without identified physiological ligands, complement other classes of transcription factors in directing the differentiation and functional maintenance of photoreceptors. The potential of nuclear receptors to respond to ligands introduces versatility into the control of photoreceptor development and function and may suggest new opportunities for treatments of photoreceptor disease.
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