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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Temporal bone histopathology in connexin 26-related hearing loss.

OBJECTIVE: Mutations in GJB2, a gene that encodes a gap junction protein, Connexin 26 ( Cx26), are responsible for approximately one third of sporadic severe-to-profound or profound congenital deafness and half of severe-to-profound or profound autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL). Mouse mutants homozygous for knockouts of this gene are nonviable, precluding histopathologic studies of the associated inner ear pathology in this animal model. Therefore, we studied archival temporal bone sections to identify temporal bone donors with Cx26-related deafness. STUDY DESIGN: Temporal bone donors with a history of congenital severe-to-profound or profound deafness were identified in the registry of the Temporal Bone Library at the University of Iowa. Histological findings were interpreted in a blinded fashion. DNA extracted from two celloidin-embedded mid-modiolar sections from each temporal bone was screened for the 35delG Cx26 mutation. The entire coding region of Cx26 was screened for other deafness-causing mutations if the 35delG mutation was detected. RESULTS: Of five temporal bone donors with congenital severe-to-profound deafness, one donor was found to have Cx26-related deafness. This individual was a Cx26 compound heterozygote, carrying the 35delG mutation and a noncomplementary Cx26 missense mutation on the opposing allele. Microscopic evaluation of this temporal bone showed no neural degeneration, a good population of spiral ganglion cells, near-total degeneration of hair cells in the organ of Corti, a detached and rolled-up tectorial membrane, agenesis of the stria vascularis, and a large cyst in the scala media in the region of the stria vascularis. CONCLUSION: This study is the first to report the temporal bone histopathology associated with Cx26-related deafness. Preservation of neurons in the spiral ganglion suggests that long-term successful habilitation with cochlear implants may be possible in persons with severe-to-profound or profound Cx26-related deafness.[1]


  1. Temporal bone histopathology in connexin 26-related hearing loss. Jun, A.I., McGuirt, W.T., Hinojosa, R., Green, G.E., Fischel-Ghodsian, N., Smith, R.J. Laryngoscope (2000) [Pubmed]
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