The effects of a connexin 26 mutation - 35delG - On oto-acoustic emissions and brainstem evoked potentials: Homozygotes and carriers

B. Engel-Yeger, S. Zaaroura, J. Zlotogora, S. Shalev, Y. Hujeirat, M. Carrasquillo, S. Barges, H. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine whether outer hair cells (OHCs), inner hair cells and the brainstem auditory pathway are impaired due to a mutation in a gap junction protein, connexin 26 (Cx26), 35delG. Fifty-six individuals, from a village with widespread consanguinity and profound, non-syndromic congenital deafness, due to 35delG mutation, were selected among relatives of deaf people. The individuals were either non-carriers (n=20), heterozygous (n=20) or homozygous (n=16) for the mutation. Distortion product oto-acoustic emissions (DPOAEs) and auditory brainstem evoked potentials (ABEPs) in mutation non-carriers, in heterozygotes (carriers) and in subjects homozygous for the mutation were compared in addition to audiometric evaluation. Most deaf homozygotes had no DPOAEs, except some sporadic responses at 1000, 8000 and 10 000 Hz. This was also observed in audiometry which showed profound hearing loss in most cases. Two cases were unique: one had moderate to severe hearing loss and the other had severe to profound hearing loss. A significant difference was found between non-carriers and carriers of 35delG: non-carriers had larger DPOAE responses than heterozygotes at all frequencies. The prevalence of responses got lower with higher frequencies in both groups, but between 6000 and 10 000 Hz 50-70% of the carriers had no DPOAE responses, compared to 30-60% of non-carriers. In both groups responses diminished with age, but no significant interaction was found between age and the genetic group. ABEPs among homozygotes were variable: in most homozygotes ABEPs were absent or partial (waves III, V) with prolonged latencies, but two subjects had ABEPs within normal limits, in one ear. ABEPs were normal with no differences between carriers and non-carriers. We suggest that OHC function is affected by the 35delG mutation in Cx26. In addition, the hearing of carriers of this mutation may be impaired at very high frequencies (8000-10 000 Hz), which are not assessed in routine audiometry or ABEP testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory
  • Congenital deafness
  • Connexin 26
  • Consanguinity
  • Hereditary
  • Physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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