A large Filipino-American family with progressive matrilineal hearing loss, premature graying, depigmented patches, and digital anomalies was ascertained through a survey of a spina bifida clinic for neural crest disorders. Deafness followed a matrilineal pattern of inheritance and was associated with the A1555G mutation in the 12S rRNA gene (MTRNR1) in affected individuals as well as unaffected maternal relatives. Several other malformations were found in carriers of the mutation. The proband had a myelocystocele, Arnold-Chiari type I malformation, cloacal exstrophy, and severe early-onset hearing loss. Several family members had premature graying, white forelock, congenital leukoderma with or without telecanthus, somewhat suggestive of a Waardenburg syndrome variant. In addition to the patient with myelocystocele, two individuals had scoliosis and one had segmentation defects of spinal vertebrae. The syndromic characteristics reported here are novel for the mitochondrial A1555G substitution, and may result from dysfunction of mitochondrial genes during early development. However, the mitochondrial A1555G mutation is only rarely associated with neural tube defects as it was not found in a screen of 218 additional individuals with spina bifida, four of whom had congenital hearing loss.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.