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PLoS One. 2010 Jul 7;5(7):e11459. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011459.

Phenotype and genetics of progressive sensorineural hearing loss (Snhl1) in the LXS set of recombinant inbred strains of mice.

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Section on Neurogenetics, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America.


Progressive sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of acquired hearing impairment in the human population. It is also highly prevalent in inbred strains of mice, providing an experimental avenue to systematically map genetic risk factors and to dissect the molecular pathways that orchestrate hearing in peripheral sensory hair cells. Therefore, we ascertained hearing function in the inbred long sleep (ILS) and inbred short sleep (ISS) strains. Using auditory-evoked brain stem response (ABR) and distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) measurements, we found that ISS mice developed a high-frequency hearing loss at twelve weeks of age that progressed to lower frequencies by 26 weeks of age in the presence of normal endocochlear potentials and unremarkable inner ear histology. ILS mice exhibited milder hearing loss, showing elevated thresholds and reduced DPOAEs at the higher frequencies by 26 weeks of age. To map the genetic variants that underlie this hearing loss we computed ABR thresholds of 63 recombinant inbred stains derived from the ISS and ILS founder strains. A single locus was linked to markers associated with ISS alleles on chromosome 10 with a highly significant logarithm of odds (LOD) score of 15.8. The 2-LOD confidence interval spans approximately 4 Megabases located at position 54-60 Mb. This locus, termed sensorineural hearing loss 1 (Snhl1), accounts for approximately 82% of the phenotypic variation. In summary, this study identifies a novel hearing loss locus on chromosome 10 and attests to the prevalence and genetic heterogeneity of progressive hearing loss in common mouse strains.

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