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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Nanotechnology and the treatment of inner ear diseases

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Abstract Inner ear diseases such as sensorineural hearing loss and vertigo that cause degeneration of sensory‐neural transducer epithelial cells and nerve cells are extremely common and significantly disabling conditions for which there are almost no effective remedies to date. Efforts are being made to produce agents that could prevent injury, limit its extent, and repair injury or regenerate new end organ and neural cells. These promising drugs or gene therapies may require local administration to the inner ear and even cell‐specific targeting to provide adequate effective doses without systemic toxicity or side effects. Delivery of agents may require controlled or sustained release into the inner ear fluids, cellular cytoplasm, or nucleus of targeted cells. A number of classes of nanoparticles have been investigated that demonstrate the potential for accomplishing these challenging tasks. The strategies and experience to date for functionalizing nanoparticles for inner ear delivery and intracellular release of therapeutic agent into targeted cells will be reviewed in this article. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2011 3 212–221 DOI: 10.1002/wnan.125 This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > In Vivo Nanodiagnostics and Imaging Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Neurological Disease Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanotechnology in Tissue Repair and Replacement

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Diagram of nanoparticles placed topically onto the round window membrane. Nanoparticles are seen to be entering the perilymph with the greatest concentration initially in the basal turn of the cochlea adjacent to the oval and round windows. (Modified and reprinted with permission from Wolfe et al: Sensation and Perception, 2nd Ed, Sinauer Associates, Inc Publishers, Sunderland, MA).

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Schematic of a liposome showing the bilayer phospholipid shell and aqueous core. (Reprinted with permission from Prof. Joseph Zasadzinski from http://techtransfer.universityofcalifornia.edu/NCD/19354.html).

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Schematic of a multifunctional nanoparticle with a surfactant (polyethylene glycol) coating, targeting ligands to bind cell surface receptors, imaging labeling contrast agents and cargo of drugs and plasmids.

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(a) Diagram of the human ear. (b) Diagramatic cross‐section through the cochlea. (Modified and reprinted with permission from Wolfe et al: Sensation and Perception, 2nd Ed, Sinauer Associates, Inc Publishers, Sunderland, MA).

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4.7 T magnetic resonance (MR) image, T2‐weighted sequence, of a rat inner ear imaged with 3D volume reconstruction. (a) All of the perilymph and endolymph of the cochlea are bright signals allowing visualization of the entire labyrinth. (b) One hour after receiving intracochlear injection of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) into the left ear, the cochlear perilymph containing SPIONs is darkened leaving only the endolymph within the scala media. Some darkening of perilymph is also seen in the vestibular organ, but the semicircular canals, which are most distant from the site of injection, appear unchanged at this time.

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4.7 T magnetic resonance (MR) image, T2‐weighted sequence, of a rat inner ear 1 h after receiving intracochlear injection of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) into the left ear. Fluids in this sequence normally appear bright (white). The cochlear endolymph remains bright while the perilymph of the scala tympani and scala vestibuli are darkened by the contrast agent. Comparison is made with the right cochlea, which shows bright signal in the scala tympani, media, and vestibuli.

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Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Neurological Disease
Diagnostic Tools > In Vivo Nanodiagnostics and Imaging
Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanotechnology in Tissue Repair and Replacement

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