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Front Mol Neurosci. 2013 Dec 23;6:52. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2013.00052.

MicroRNAs in sensorineural diseases of the ear.

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Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Israel.


Non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) have a fundamental role in gene regulation and expression in almost every multicellular organism. Only discovered in the last decade, miRNAs are already known to play a leading role in many aspects of disease. In the vertebrate inner ear, miRNAs are essential for controlling development and survival of hair cells. Moreover, dysregulation of miRNAs has been implicated in sensorineural hearing impairment, as well as in other ear diseases such as cholesteatomas, vestibular schwannomas, and otitis media. Due to the inaccessibility of the ear in humans, animal models have provided the optimal tools to study miRNA expression and function, in particular mice and zebrafish. A major focus of current research has been to discover the targets of the miRNAs expressed in the inner ear, in order to determine the regulatory pathways of the auditory and vestibular systems. The potential for miRNAs manipulation in development of therapeutic tools for hearing impairment is as yet unexplored, paving the way for future work in the field.


cochlea; deafness; inner ear; microRNAs; vestibule

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