Objectives/hypothesis: Mutations in the mitochondrial genome may predispose people to sensorineural hearing loss. An adenine to guanine point mutation in the tRNA(Leu(UUR)) gene at nucleotide 3,243 is one of the deaf-related mutations. This mutation is reported to be associated with 0.9% of diabetes mellitus patients. However, the prevalence of this mutation in hearing-impaired patients still remains unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of this mutation among bilaterally sensorineural hearing-impaired patients in Japan.
Study design: Retrospective survey of 100 patients with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss without any evident causes.
Methods: Mitochondrial DNA fragments from the patients were amplified by polymerase chain reaction, followed by a restriction enzyme fragment length polymorphism method.
Results: Three patients with this mutation were identified. Their clinical profiles were different from the category which had been considered as hearing loss caused by this mitochondrial gene mutation.
Conclusions: The mutation is associated with approximately 3% of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss cases of unknown origin and is possibly distributed widely in sensorineural hearing-impaired patients in Japan.