Role of microRNAs in inner ear development and hearing loss

Rahul Mittal, George Liu, Sai P. Polineni, Nicole Bencie, Denise Yan, Xue Zhong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The etiology of hearing loss tends to be multi-factorial and affects a significant proportion of the global population. Despite the differences in etiology, a common physical pathological change that leads to hearing loss is damage to the mechanosensory hair cells of the inner ear. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play a role in inner ear development and thus, may play a role in the development or prevention of hearing loss. In this paper, we review the mechanism of action of miRNAs in the auditory system. We present an overview about the role of miRNAs in inner ear development, summarize the current research on the role of miRNAs in gene regulation, and discuss the effects of both miRNA mutations as well as overexpression. We discuss the crucial role of miRNAs in ensuring normal physiological development of the inner ear. Any deviation from the proper function of miRNA in the cochlea seems to contribute to deleterious damage to the structure of the auditory system and subsequently results in hearing loss. As interest for miRNA research increases, this paper serves as a platform to review current understandings and postulate future avenues for research. A better knowledge about the role of miRNA in the auditory system will help in developing novel treatment modalities for restoring hearing function based on regeneration of damaged inner ear hair cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Hearing loss
  • Inner ear
  • Mutation
  • microRNAs


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