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Neurology. 1997 Feb;48(2):453-6.

Two large Spanish pedigrees with nonsyndromic sensorineural deafness and the mtDNA mutation at nt 1555 in the 12s rRNA gene: evidence of heteroplasmy.

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  • 1H. Houston Merritt Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy and Related Diseases, Department of Neurology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


We describe two unrelated Spanish families with isolated sensorineural hearing loss. In both pedigrees, the deafness was transmitted maternally, which suggested a mitochondrial, DNA (mtDNA) defect. Within the same pedigree, some relatives showed aminoglycoside-induced deafness, whereas others were not exposed to aminoglycosides before the onset of hearing loss. Molecular genetic analysis in both families showed the A-to-G transition at nt 1555 (A1555G) in the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. In one pedigree, the mutation was homoplasmic; in the other, it was heteroplasmic. To assess the frequency of this mutation, we screened 42 patients of various ethnic backgrounds with isolated sensorineural hearing loss; none harbored the A1555G mutation. This is the first report of heteroplasmy in a family with isolated sensorineural deafness associated with the A1555G mutation.

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