How the Inner Ear Comes to Be

Key cells migrate there during embryo development

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WEDNESDAY, June 18, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new type of cell that migrates to the developing inner ear of embryos has been identified by a researcher at the Medical College of Georgia.

The new cells, called ventrally emigrating neural tube (VENT) cells, follow the path of newly formed nerves out of the developing neural tube. One of the places they travel to is the developing inner ear, developmental biologist Dr. Paul Sohal found in research with chick embryos.

His research appears in the June issue of the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience.

In a news release, Sohal says his finding shows the complex, cavernous inner ear doesn't form from a mostly homogenous group of cells.

"One thing which has been a puzzle was how can a single source of cells give rise to entirely different systems, functionally different systems," Sohal says of the inner ear.

Sohal is now trying to determine if VENT cells are part of functional units within the inner ear.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the ear.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, June 10, 2003
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