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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working with Auditory HEI-OC1 Cells

  • Author(s): Kalinec, GM
  • Park, C
  • Thein, P
  • Kalinec, F
  • et al.

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HEI-OC1 is one of the few mouse auditory cell lines available for research purposes. Originally proposed as an in vitro system for screening of ototoxic drugs, these cells have been used to investigate drug-activated apoptotic pathways, autophagy, senescence, mechanism of cell protection, inflammatory responses, cell differentiation, genetic and epigenetic effects of pharmacological drugs, effects of hypoxia, oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, and expression of molecular channels and receptors. Among other several important markers of cochlear hair cells, HEI-OC1 cells endogenously express prestin, the paradigmatic motor protein of outer hair cells. Thus, they can be very useful to elucidate novel functional aspects of this important auditory protein. HEI-OC1 cells are very robust, and their culture usually does not present big complications. However, they require some special conditions such as avoiding the use of common anti-bacterial cocktails containing streptomycin or other antibiotics as well as incubation at 33 °C to stimulate cell proliferation and incubation at 39 °C to trigger cell differentiation. Here, we describe how to culture HEI-OC1 cells and how to use them in some typical assays, such as cell proliferation, viability, death, autophagy and senescence, as well as how to perform patch-clamp and non-linear capacitance measurements.

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