Article

Novel mutations in the SLC26A4 gene

Audiology Department - C.so Giovecca 203, 44121, University of Ferrara, Italy.
International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology (Impact Factor: 1.32). 06/2012; 76(9):1249-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2012.05.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations in the SLC26A4 gene (7q22.3-7q31.1) are considered one of the most common causes of genetic hearing loss. There are two clinical forms related to these mutations: syndromic and non-syndromic deafness. The first one is named Pendred Syndrome (PS) when deafness is associated with thyroid goiter; the second is called DFNB4, when no other symptoms are present. Both are transmitted as an autosomal recessive trait, but simple heterozygotes can develop both forms of deafness. Actually it is thought that Pendred Syndrome occurs when both alleles of SLC26A4 gene are mutated; DFNB4 seems due to monoallelic mutations. PS and DFNB4 can be associated with inner ear malformations. In most of the cases (around 80%), these consist in Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct (EVA). EVA can also be present without SLC26A4 mutations. Understanding the role of new SLC26A4 variants should facilitate clinical assessment, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. This investigation aims to detect and report genetic causes of two unrelated Italian boys with hearing loss.
Patients and family members underwent clinical, audiological and genetic evaluations. To identify genetic mutations, DNA sequencing of SLC26A4 gene (including all 21 exons, exon-intron boundaries and promoter region) was carried out.
Both probands were affected by congenital, progressive and fluctuating mixed hearing loss. Temporal bone imaging revealed a bilateral EVA with no other abnormalities in both cases. Probands were heterozygotes for previously undescribed mutations in the SLC26A4 gene: R409H/IVS2+1delG (proband 1) and L236P/K590X (proband 2). No other mutations were detected in GJB2, GJB6 genes or mitochondrial DNA (mit-DNA).
The IVS2+1delG and K590X mutations have not yet been described in literature but there is some evidence to suggest that they have a pathological role. The results underlined the importance of considering the complete DNA sequencing of the SLC26A4 gene for differential molecular diagnosis of deafness, especially in those patients affected by congenital, progressive and fluctuating mixed hearing loss with bilateral EVA.

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