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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 617207, 7 pages
Review Article

Reactive Oxygen Species, Apoptosis, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Hearing Loss

Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8665, Japan

Received 15 May 2014; Accepted 10 September 2014

Academic Editor: Peter Thorne

Copyright © 2015 Teru Kamogashira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is involved in several apoptotic and necrotic cell death pathways in auditory tissues. These pathways are the major causes of most types of sensorineural hearing loss, including age-related hearing loss, hereditary hearing loss, ototoxic drug-induced hearing loss, and noise-induced hearing loss. ROS production can be triggered by dysfunctional mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and increases or decreases in ROS-related enzymes. Although apoptotic cell death pathways are mostly activated by ROS production, there are other pathways involved in hearing loss that do not depend on ROS production. Further studies of other pathways, such as endoplasmic reticulum stress and necrotic cell death, are required.