Background: Hearing loss with enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) can be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait caused by bi-allelic mutations of SLC26A4. However, many EVA patients have non-diagnostic SLC26A4 genotypes with only one or no detectable mutant alleles.
Methods and results: In this study, the authors were unable to detect occult SLC26A4 mutations in EVA patients with non-diagnostic genotypes by custom comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) microarray analysis or by sequence analysis of conserved non-coding regions. The authors sought to compare the segregation of EVA among 71 families with two (M2), one (M1) or no (M0) detectable mutant alleles of SLC26A4. The segregation ratios of EVA in the M1 and M2 groups were similar, but the segregation ratio for M1 was significantly higher than in the M0 group. Haplotype analyses of SLC26A4-linked STR markers in M0 and M1 families revealed discordant segregation of EVA with these markers in eight of 24 M0 families.
Conclusion: The results support the hypothesis of a second, undetected SLC26A4 mutation that accounts for EVA in the M1 patients, in contrast to non-genetic factors, complex inheritance, or aetiologic heterogeneity in the M0 group of patients. These results will be helpful for counselling EVA families with non-diagnostic SLC26A4 genotypes.
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