Mitochondrial deafness mutations reviewed

Hum Mutat. 1999;13(4):261-70. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-1004(1999)13:4<261::AID-HUMU1>3.0.CO;2-W.


The first molecular defect for nonsyndromic hearing loss was identified in 1993, and was a mitochondrial mutation. Since then a number of inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been implicated in hearing loss, and acquired mtDNA mutations have been proposed as one of the causes of the hearing loss associated with aging, presbyacusis. These molecular findings have raised as many questions as they have answered, however, since the pathophysiology between the mutations and the clinical phenotype remains poorly understood. This mini-review will, after a short background review of mitochondrial genetics, (1) outline the different mtDNA mutations associated with inherited syndromic, nonsyndromic, and ototoxic hearing loss, (2) summarize the data on acquired mtDNA mutations and their possible association with presbyacusis, (3) describe the biochemical consequences of the inherited mtDNA mutations, (4) suggest the clinical implications of the identification of these mutations, and (5) discuss the penetrance and tissue specificity of the hearing associated mtDNA mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Deafness / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation*
  • Penetrance
  • Presbycusis / genetics
  • Tissue Distribution


  • DNA, Mitochondrial