Twenty-seven unrelated Jewish Ashkenazi patients with nonsyndromic prelingual deafness (NSD) were analyzed for mutations in the coding sequence of the connexin 26 (Cx26) gene. Biallelic mutations were identified in 19 of the 27 patients (70.4%); 12 were homozygous for the mutation 167delT, 2 were homozygous for the mutation 35delG, and 5 were compound 167delT/35delG heterozygotes. In addition three patients were heterozygous with no second identified mutation in the Cx26 gene. Biallelic mutations in the Cx26 gene account for 83% of familial cases and 44% of the sporadic cases. Among 268 unselected Ashkenazi individuals, 20 were 167delT/N heterozygotes, giving an estimate of 7.5% carrier frequency. Based on the 167delT carrier frequency in three studies (including the present one), it is expected that 167delT/167delT homozygotes account for 70% of all patients with NSD (1 in 1300). The hearing capacity of 30 patients (probands and their sibs) with biallelic Cx26 mutations and at least one allele with 167delT demonstrated inter- and intrafamilial variability from profound to mild hearing impairment.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.