Aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity

Curr Pharm Des. 2007;13(1):119-26. doi: 10.2174/138161207779313731.


It has long been known that the major irreversible toxicity of aminoglycosides is ototoxicity. Among them, streptomycin and gentamicin are primarily vestibulotoxic, whereas amikacin, neomycin, dihydrosterptomycin, and kanamicin are primarily cochleotoxic. Cochlear damage can produce permanent hearing loss, and damage to the vestibular apparatus results in dizziness, ataxia, and/or nystagmus. Aminoglycosides appear to generate free radicals within the inner ear, with subsequent permanent damage to sensory cells and neurons, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Two mutations in the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene have been previously reported to predispose carriers to aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity. As aminoglycosides are indispensable agents both in the treatment of infections and Meniere's disease, a great effort has been made to develop strategies to prevent aminoglycoside ototoxicity. Anti-free radical agents, such as salicylate, have been shown to attenuate the ototoxic effects of aminoglycosides. In this paper, incidence, predisposition, mechanism, and prevention of aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity is discussed in the light of literature data.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminoglycosides / administration & dosage
  • Aminoglycosides / adverse effects*
  • Aminoglycosides / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / toxicity
  • Cochlea / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / drug effects
  • Hearing Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Disorders / genetics
  • Hearing Disorders / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meniere Disease / drug therapy
  • Mutation
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / drug effects*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, ribosomal, 12S
  • RNA