Why don’t mammals regenerate dying auditory cells? What signals can stimulate cochlear supporting cell proliferation, and what signals stimulate hair cell differentiation? More importantly, if it is possible to stimulate these actions in cochlear cells, why don’t they occur after mammals are deafened? Are the signals not present, or are they blocked somehow?
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Cells are built from proteins, and specialized cells such as hair cells express a unique complement of proteins. Consider that cochlear sensory cells in humans survive for decades; consider too that hearing is an active process, where sound waves are amplified or suppressed through the function of the outer hair cells, also known as the cochlear amplifier.
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