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.
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