Age-related hearing impairment (ARHI) is the most common sensory impairment in elderly people, affecting 50% of 80 year old people. In the general population, the fraction of elderly is increasing and as a consequence the number of individuals affected with ARHI is growing. ARHI is a complex disorder with both environmental and genetic factors contributing to the disease. Recently, the first studies to elucidate these genetic factors have been performed, resulting in the identification of the first two susceptibility genes for ARHI, NAT2 and KCNQ4. Within the current study, the association between ARHI and polymorphisms in genes that contribute to the defence against Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), including GSTT1, GSTM1 and NAT2, was tested. Samples originated from 7 different countries and were combined into two test population samples, the general European population and the Finnish population. Two distinct phenotypes for ARHI were studied, Zlow and Zhigh, representing hearing in the low and high frequencies, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed for single polymorphisms (GSTM1, GSTT1, NAT2*5A, NAT2*6A, and NAT2*7A), haplotypes, gene-environment and gene-gene interactions. We detected an association between ARHI and GSTT1 and GSTM1 in the Finnish population sample, as well as NAT2*6A in the general European population sample. This latter finding replicates previously published data. As in the study of complex disorders replication is considered the ultimate proof of true associations, the current study provides further support for the involvement of NAT2*6A in ARHI.
- Age related Hearing Impairment
- Association study
- Glutathione S transferase
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