Regeneration of auditory hair cells in adult mammals is challenging. It is also difficult to track the sources of regenerated hair cells, especially in vivo. Previous paper found newly generated hair cells in deafened mouse by injecting a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azacytidine into the inner ear. This paper aims to investigate the cell sources of new hair cells. Transgenic mice with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression controlled by the Sox2 gene were used in the study. A combination of kanamycin and furosemide was applied to deafen adult mice, which received 4 mM 5-azacytidine injection into the inner ear three days later. Mice were followed for 3, 5, 7 and 14 days after surgery to track hair cell regeneration. Immunostaining of Myosin VIIa and EGFP signals were used to track the fate of Sox2-expressing supporting cells. The results show that (i) expression of EGFP in the transgenic mice colocalized the supporting cells in the organ of Corti, and (ii) the cell source of regenerated hair cells following 5-azacytidine treatment may be supporting cells during 5–7 days post 5-azacytidine injection. In conclusion, 5-azacytidine may promote the conversion of supporting cells to hair cells in chemically deafened adult mice.
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