Development and regeneration of vestibular hair cells in mammals

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 May:65:96-105. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 15.


Vestibular sensation is essential for gaze stabilization, balance, and perception of gravity. The vestibular receptors in mammals, Type I and Type II hair cells, are located in five small organs in the inner ear. Damage to hair cells and their innervating neurons can cause crippling symptoms such as vertigo, visual field oscillation, and imbalance. In adult rodents, some Type II hair cells are regenerated and become re-innervated after damage, presenting opportunities for restoring vestibular function after hair cell damage. This article reviews features of vestibular sensory cells in mammals, including their basic properties, how they develop, and how they are replaced after damage. We discuss molecules that control vestibular hair cell regeneration and highlight areas in which our understanding of development and regeneration needs to be deepened.

Keywords: Development; Hair cell; Regeneration; Supporting cell; Vestibular.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p19 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p19 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gravity Sensing / physiology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / cytology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / classification
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / cytology*
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Organogenesis / genetics
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Regeneration / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction
  • beta Catenin / genetics
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • CTNNB1 protein, mouse
  • Cdkn1a protein, mouse
  • Cdkn2d protein, mouse
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p19
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • beta Catenin