The hair cells (HCs) are the most vulnerable elements in the cochlea and damage to them is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Understanding the intracellular events that lead to the death of HCs is a key to developing protective strategies. Recently, it has been shown that the c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is activated in HCs in response to aminoglycosides and CEP-1347, an inhibitor of the JNK signaling pathway protected HCs from ototoxicity. We have studied another inhibitor (CEP-11 004) of this signaling pathway in its ability to protect HCs from aminoglycoside ototoxicity in vitro. Organ of Corti explants from p5 rat basal turns were maintained in tissue culture and treated with CEP-11 004 for 12 hours. They were then treated with CEP-11 004 plus gentamicin for 72 hours. Significantly less HC death was observed compared to gentamicin alone. CEP-11 004 alone had no effect on HCs. We conclude that the JNK signaling pathway plays a role in aminoglycoside ototoxicity signaling.