Key Signaling Pathways Regulate the Development and Survival of Auditory Hair Cells

Neural Plast. 2021 Jun 11;2021:5522717. doi: 10.1155/2021/5522717. eCollection 2021.


The loss of auditory sensory hair cells (HCs) is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). As the main sound transmission structure in the cochlea, it is necessary to maintain the normal shape and survival of HCs. In this review, we described and summarized the signaling pathways that regulate the development and survival of auditory HCs in SNHL. The role of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositide-3 kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/Akt), Notch/Wnt/Atoh1, calcium channels, and oxidative stress/reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling pathways are the most relevant. The molecular interactions of these signaling pathways play an important role in the survival of HCs, which may provide a theoretical basis and possible therapeutic interventions for the treatment of hearing loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Cell Survival
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / pathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / physiology


  • ATOH1 protein, human
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Calcium Channels
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, Notch
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt