Hearing loss (HL) is the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide. Despite its prevalence, clinical testing does not yield a cell or molecular based identification of the underlying etiology of hearing loss making development of pharmacological or molecular treatments challenging.
A key to improving the diagnosis of inner ear disorders is the development of reliable biomarkers for different inner ear diseases.
Analysis of microRNAs (miRNA) in tissue and body fluid samples has gained significant momentum as a diagnostic tool for a wide variety of diseases.
In previous work, we have shown that miRNA profiling in inner ear perilymph is feasible and may demonstrate distinctive miRNA expression profiles unique to different diseases.
A first step in developing miRNAs as biomarkers for inner ear disease is linking patterns of miRNA expression in perilymph to clinically available metrics. Using machine learning (ML), we demonstrate we can build disease specific algorithms that predict the presence of sensorineural hearing loss using only miRNA expression profiles.
This methodology not only affords the opportunity to understand what is occurring on a molecular level, but may offer an approach to diagnosing patients with active inner ear disease.