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Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Apr;5 Suppl 1:S10-3. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2012.5.S1.S10. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Genetic Screening of GJB2 and SLC26A4 in Korean Cochlear Implantees: Experience of Soree Ear Clinic.

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  • 1Soree Ear Clinic, Seoul, Korea.



Genetic hearing loss is highly heterogeneous and more than 100 genes are predicted to cause this disorder in humans. In spite of this large genetic heterogeneity, mutations in SLC26A4 and GJB2 genes are primarily responsible for the major etiologies of genetic hearing loss among Koreans. The purpose of this study is to investigate the genetic cause of deafness in Korean cochlear implantees by performing a genetic screening of the SLC26A4 and GJB2 genes.


The study cohort included 421 unrelated Korean patients with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and who had received cochlear implants (CI) at Soree Ear Clinic from July 2002 to December 2010. Among 421 CI patients, we studied 230 cases who had received the genetic screening for SLC26A4 or GJB2 genes. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. All patients had severe to profound, bilateral hearing loss. For 56 patients who showed enlarged vestibular aqueduct on their computed tomography (CT) scan, we analyzed SLC26A4. For 174 CT negative patients, GJB2 gene was sequenced.


For the 56 SLC26A4 patients, 32 (57.1%) had two pathogenic recessive mutations in SLC26A4. A single recessive SLC26A4 mutation was identified in 14 patients (25%). H723R and IVS7-2A>G were the most commonly found mutations, accounting for 60.3% (47/78) and 30.8% (24/78) of the mutated alleles, respectively. For the 174 GJB2 patients, 20 patients (11.5%) had two pathogenic recessive mutations in GJB2. 235delC was the most common mutation, accounting for 43.0% (31/72) of mutant alleles.


The two major genes, SLC26A4 and GJB2, contribute major causes of deafness in CI patients. Continuous studies are needed to identify new genes that can cause hearing loss to Korean CI patients.


Cochlear implants; Connexin 26; GJB2 protein; Pendred syndrome; SLC26A4 protein

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