Progressive irreversible hearing loss is caused by stria vascularis degeneration in an Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model of large vestibular aqueduct syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Hearing loss of patients with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) can fluctuate or progress, with overall downward progression. The most common detectable cause of EVA is mutations of SLC26A4. We previously described a transgenic Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model of EVA in which Slc26a4 expression is controlled by doxycycline administration. Mice that received doxycycline from conception until embryonic day 17.5 (DE17.5; doxycycline discontinued at embryonic day 17.5) had fluctuating hearing loss between 1 and 6 months of age with an overall downward progression after 6 months of age. In this study, we characterized the cochlear functional and structural changes underlying irreversible hearing loss in DE17.5 mice at 12 months of age. The endocochlear potential was decreased and inversely correlated with auditory brainstem response thresholds. The stria vascularis was thickened and edematous in ears with less severe hearing loss, and thinned and atrophic in ears with more severe hearing loss. There were pathologic changes in marginal cell morphology and gene expression that were not observed at 3 months. We conclude that strial dysfunction and degeneration are the primary causes of irreversible progressive hearing loss in our Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model of EVA. This model of primary strial atrophy may be used to explore the mechanisms of progressive hearing loss due to strial dysfunction.
Project description:SLC26A4 mutations cause fluctuating and progressive hearing loss associated with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA). SLC26A4 encodes a transmembrane anion exchanger called pendrin expressed in nonsensory epithelial cells of the lateral wall of cochlea, vestibular organs and endolymphatic sac. We previously described a transgenic mouse model of EVA with doxycycline (dox)-inducible expression of Slc26a4 in which administration of dox from conception to embryonic day 17.5 (DE17.5) resulted in hearing fluctuation between 1 and 3months of age. In the present study, we hypothesized that Slc26a4 is required to stabilize hearing in DE17.5 ears between 1 and 3months of age. We tested our hypothesis by evaluating the effect of postnatal re-induction of Slc26a4 expression on hearing. Readministration of dox to DE17.5 mice at postnatal day 6 (P6), but not at 1month of age, resulted in reduced click-evoked auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds, less fluctuation of hearing and a higher surface density of pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells of the stria vascularis. Pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells was inversely correlated with ABR thresholds. These findings suggest that stabilization of hearing by readministration of dox at P6 is mediated by pendrin expression in spindle-shaped cells. We conclude that early re-induction of Slc26a4 expression can prevent fluctuation of hearing in our Slc26a4-insufficient mouse model. Restoration of SLC26A4 expression and function could reduce or prevent fluctuation of hearing in EVA patients.
Project description:OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:To characterize the severity and natural history of hearing loss, and the prevalence of having a cochlear implant in a maturing cohort of individuals with enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) and zero or one mutant allele of SLC26A4. STUDY DESIGN:Prospective cohort study of subjects ascertained between 1998 and 2015 at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. METHODS:Study subjects were 127 individuals (median age, 8 years; range, 0-59 years) with EVA in at least one ear. RESULTS:Ears with EVA and zero or one mutant allele of SLC26A4 had mean 0.5/1/2/4-kHz pure-tone averages of 62.6 and 52.9 dB HL, respectively, in contrast to EVA ears with two mutant alleles of SLC26A4 (88.1 dB HL; P < .01). This association was independent of age, sex, or side of EVA (P < .001). Natural history of hearing loss was not associated with number of mutant alleles (P = .94). The prevalence of having a cochlear implant was nine (12%) of 76, two (13%) of 15, and 12 (38%) of 32 subjects with zero, one, and two mutant alleles, respectively (P = .00833). This association was not independent (P = .534) but reflected underlying correlations with age at time of first audiogram (P = .003) or severity of hearing loss (P = .000). CONCLUSIONS:Ears with EVA and zero or one mutant allele of SLC26A4 have less severe hearing loss, no difference in prevalence of fluctuation, and a lower prevalence of cochlear implantation in comparison to ears with two mutant alleles of SLC26A4. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:NA Laryngoscope, 127:E238-E243, 2017.
Project description:Mutations in human SLC26A4 are a common cause of hearing loss associated with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA). SLC26A4 encodes pendrin, an anion-base exchanger expressed in inner ear epithelial cells that secretes HCO3- into endolymph. Studies of Slc26a4-null mice indicate that pendrin is essential for inner ear development, but have not revealed whether pendrin is specifically necessary for homeostasis. Slc26a4-null mice are profoundly deaf, with severe inner ear malformations and degenerative changes that do not model the less severe human phenotype. Here, we describe studies in which we generated a binary transgenic mouse line in which Slc26a4 expression could be induced with doxycycline. The transgenes were crossed onto the Slc26a4-null background so that all functional pendrin was derived from the transgenes. Varying the temporal expression of Slc26a4 revealed that E16.5 to P2 was the critical interval in which pendrin was required for acquisition of normal hearing. Lack of pendrin during this period led to endolymphatic acidification, loss of the endocochlear potential, and failure to acquire normal hearing. Doxycycline initiation at E18.5 or discontinuation at E17.5 resulted in partial hearing loss approximating the human EVA auditory phenotype. These data collectively provide mechanistic insight into hearing loss caused by SLC26A4 mutations and establish a model for further studies of EVA-associated hearing loss.
Project description:SLC26A4 mutations can cause a distinctive hearing loss phenotype with sudden drops and fluctuation in patients. Existing Slc26a4 mutant mouse lines have a profound loss of hearing and vestibular function, with severe inner ear malformations that do not model this human phenotype. In this study, we generated Slc26a4-insufficient mice by manipulation of doxycycline administration to a transgenic mouse line in which all Slc26a4 expression was under the control of doxycycline. Doxycycline was administered from conception to embryonic day 17.5, and then it was discontinued. Auditory brainstem response thresholds showed significant fluctuation of hearing loss from 1 through 3months of age. The endocochlear potential, which is required for inner ear sensory cell function, correlated with auditory brainstem response thresholds. We observed degeneration of stria vascularis intermediate cells, the cells that generate the endocochlear potential, but no other abnormalities within the cochlea. We conclude that fluctuations of hearing result from fluctuations of the endocochlear potential and stria vascularis dysfunction in Slc26a4-insufficient mouse ears. This model can now be used to test potential interventions to reduce or prevent sudden hearing loss or fluctuation in human patients. Our strategy to generate a hypomorphic mouse model utilizing the tet-on system will be applicable to other diseases in which a hypomorphic allele is needed to model the human phenotype.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recessive mutations of coding regions and splice sites of the SLC26A4 gene cause hearing loss with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA). Some patients also have a thyroid iodination defect that can lead to multinodular goiter as part of Pendred syndrome. A haplotype of variants upstream of SLC26A4, called CEVA, acts as a pathogenic recessive allele in trans to mutations affecting the coding regions or splice sites of SLC26A4. Our first hypothesis is that CEVA, acting as a pathogenic recessive allele, is correlated with a less severe phenotype than mutations affecting the coding regions and splice sites of SLC26A4. Our second hypothesis is that CEVA acts as a modifier of the phenotype in patients with EVA caused by mutations affecting the coding regions or splice sites of both alleles of SLC26A4 or EVA caused by other factors. METHODS:This was a prospective cohort study of 114 individuals and 202 ears with EVA. To test our first hypothesis, we compared the thyroid and auditory phenotypes of subjects with mutations affecting coding regions of both alleles of SLC26A4 with those of subjects carrying CEVA in trans to mutations affecting the coding regions. To test our second hypothesis, we compared the phenotypes associated with the presence versus absence of CEVA among subjects with no coding region mutations, as well as among subjects with mutations affecting coding regions of both alleles. RESULTS:Subjects carrying CEVA in trans to a mutation of SLC26A4 have a normal thyroid phenotype and less severe hearing loss in comparison to individuals with mutations affecting coding regions of both alleles of SLC26A4. In subjects with no mutant alleles of SLC26A4, hearing loss was more severe in subjects who carry the CEVA haplotype in comparison to non-carriers. There was no correlation of CEVA with the phenotype of subjects with mutations affecting coding regions of both alleles. CONCLUSIONS:CEVA, acting as a likely pathogenic recessive allele, is associated with a less severe phenotype than alleles with a mutation affecting the coding regions or splice sites of SLC26A4. CEVA may act as a genetic modifier in patients with EVA caused by other factors.
Project description:Mutations in SLC26A4 cause nonsyndromic hearing loss associated with an enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA, also known as DFNB4) and Pendred syndrome (PS), the most common type of autosomal-recessive syndromic deafness. In many patients with an EVA/PS phenotype, mutation screening of SLC26A4 fails to identify two disease-causing allele variants. That a sizable fraction of patients carry only one SLC26A4 mutation suggests that EVA/PS is a complex disease involving other genetic factors. Here, we show that mutations in the inwardly rectifying K(+) channel gene KCNJ10 are associated with nonsyndromic hearing loss in carriers of SLC26A4 mutations with an EVA/PS phenotype. In probands from two families, we identified double heterozygosity in affected individuals. These persons carried single mutations in both SLC26A4 and KCNJ10. The identified SLC26A4 mutations have been previously implicated in EVA/PS, and the KCNJ10 mutations reduce K(+) conductance activity, which is critical for generating and maintaining the endocochlear potential. In addition, we show that haploinsufficiency of Slc26a4 in the Slc26a4(+/-) mouse mutant results in reduced protein expression of Kcnj10 in the stria vascularis of the inner ear. Our results link KCNJ10 mutations with EVA/PS and provide further support for the model of EVA/PS as a multigenic complex disease.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:We have characterized the spectrum of SLC26A4 mutations and clinical features in a population of mainland Chinese patients with nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA). STUDY DESIGN:Cross-sectional clinical genetic study. SETTING:Tertiary care outpatient otolaryngology clinic. METHODS:A total of 32 subjects identified with bilateral EVA using high-resolution CT were screened for mutations in SLC26A4 by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and direct sequencing methods. RESULTS:A total of 13 different mutations were identified in the SLC26A4 gene, five of which are novel. A total of 88 percent of the patients harbored biallelic mutations, 11 patients were homozygotes, and 17 were compound heterozygotes. Four patients were found to carry a single SLC26A4 mutation. The IVS7-2A>G mutation was the most frequent, accounting for 60 percent of the mutant alleles. We have not found any correlations between the type of SLC26A4 mutations and the type, degree, and progression of hearing loss. There are significant proportions of patients with asymmetric (26%), progressive (32%), or fluctuating hearing loss (21%). CONCLUSION:Our data confirm the high prevalence of SLC26A4 mutations in Chinese patients with SNHL and EVA. We could not establish any relationship between genotype and phenotype. However, the high incidence of asymmetric, progressive, and fluctuating hearing loss found in the current study indicates that patients with those features should be routinely screened for SLC26A4 mutation in addition to diagnosis of EVA using CT or MRI.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Variants in the SLC26A4 gene are correlated with nonsyndromic hearing loss with an enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA). This study aimed to identify the genetic causes in a Chinese family with EVA, and the pathogenicity of the detected variants. METHODS:We collected blood samples and clinical data from a pair of deaf twin sisters with EVA and their family members. As controls, a group of 500 normal-hearing people were enrolled in our study. Twenty-one exons and flanking splice sites of the SLC26A4 gene were screened for pathogenic mutations by polymerase chain reaction and bidirectional Sanger sequencing. Minigene assays were used to verify whether the novel SLC26A4 intronic mutation influenced the normal splicing of mRNA. RESULTS:Hearing loss in the twins with EVA was diagnosed using auditory tests and imaging examinations. Two pathogenic mutations, c.919-2A>G and c.1614+5G>A were detected in SLC26A4, the latter of which has not been reported in the literature. The minigene expression in vitro confirmed that c.1614+5G>A could cause aberrant splicing, resulting in skipping over exon 14. CONCLUSIONS:On the SLC26A4 gene, c.1614+5G>A is a pathogenic mutation. This finding enriches the mutational spectrum of the SLC26A4 gene and provides a basis for the genetic diagnosis of EVA.
Project description:OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:Hearing loss and enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) can be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait caused by mutant alleles of the SLC26A4 gene. In some other families, EVA does not segregate in a typical autosomal recessive pattern. The goal of this study was to characterize the SLC26A4 genotypes and phenotypes of extended families with atypical segregation of EVA. STUDY DESIGN:Prospective study of cohort of families ascertained between 1998 and 2014 at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. METHODS:Study subjects were members of eight families segregating EVA in at least two members who were not related as siblings. Evaluations included pure-tone audiometry, temporal bone imaging, SLC26A4 nucleotide sequence analysis, SLC26A4-linked marker genotype and haplotype analysis, and pedigree analysis. RESULTS:One family had members with EVA caused by different etiologies, and two families had pseudodominant inheritance of recessive mutations of SLC26A4. In five families, the etiology remained unknown and could include inheritance of mutant alleles at another genetic locus, nongenetic influences, or a combination of these factors. CONCLUSIONS:Familial EVA can demonstrate a variety of atypical segregation patterns. Pseudodominant inheritance of SLC26A4 mutations or recessive alleles of other hearing loss genes may be more likely to occur in families in which deaf individuals have intermarried. The etiologic basis of atypical segregation of EVA without detectable SLC26A4 mutations remains unknown. Future studies of these families may reveal novel genes for EVA. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:NA Laryngoscope, 126:E240-E247, 2016.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Mutations in the GJB2, GJB6 and SLC26A4 genes are a frequent cause of hearing loss in a number of populations. However, little is known about the genetic causes of hearing loss in the Korean population. METHODS:We sequenced the GJB2 and GJB6 genes to examine the role of mutations in these genes in 22 hearing loss patients. We also sequenced the SLC26A4 gene in seven patients with inner ear malformations, including enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) revealed by computer tomography. RESULTS:Coding sequence mutations in GJB2 were identified in 13.6% of the patients screened. Two different mutations, 235delC and T86R were found in three unrelated patients. The 235delC was the most prevalent mutation with an allele frequency of 6.9% in our patient group. No mutations, including 342-kb deletion, were found in GJB6 gene. Three different variants of SLC26A4 were identified in the EVA patients, including one novel mutation. Four EVA patients carried two mutant alleles of SLC26A4, and at least one allele in all patients was the H723R mutation, which accounted for 75% of all mutant alleles. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that GJB2 and SLC26A4 mutations together make up a major cause of congenital hearing loss in the Korean population. Further studies may be able to identify other common variants that account for a significant fraction of hearing loss in the Korean population.