Cochlin immunostaining of inner ear pathologic deposits and proteomic analysis in DFNA9 deafness and vestibular dysfunction

Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Apr 1;15(7):1071-85. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddl022. Epub 2006 Feb 15.


Seven missense mutations and one in-frame deletion mutation have been reported in the coagulation factor C homology (COCH) gene, causing the adult-onset, progressive sensorineural hearing loss and vestibular disorder at the DFNA9 locus. Prevalence of COCH mutations worldwide is unknown, as there is no systematic screening effort for late-onset hearing disorders; however, to date, COCH mutations have been found on four continents and the possibility of COCH playing an important role in presbycusis and disorders of imbalance has been considered. Cochlin (encoded by COCH) has also been shown as a major target antigen for autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss. In this report, we present histopathology, immunohistochemistry and proteomic analyses of inner ear tissues from post-mortem DFNA9 temporal bone samples of an individual from a large Dutch kindred segregating the P51S mutation and adult human unaffected controls, and wild-type (+/+) and Coch null (-/-) knock-out mice. DFNA9 is an inner ear disorder with a unique histopathology showing loss of cellularity and aggregation of abundant homogeneous acellular eosinophilic deposits in the cochlear and vestibular labyrinths, similar to protein aggregation in well-known neurodegenerative disorders. By immunohistochemistry on the DFNA9 temporal bone sections, we have shown cochlin staining of the characteristic cochlear and vestibular deposits, indicating aggregation of cochlin in the same structures in which it is normally expressed. Proteomic analysis identified cochlin as the most abundant protein in mouse and human cochleae. The high-level expression and stability of cochlin in the inner ear, even in the absence and severe atrophy of the fibrocytes that normally express COCH, are shown through these studies and further elucidate the pathobiologic events occurring in DFNA9 leading to hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Deafness / genetics
  • Deafness / metabolism*
  • Ear, Inner / metabolism
  • Ear, Inner / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glaucoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods*
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Temporal Bone / metabolism
  • Temporal Bone / pathology
  • Vestibular Diseases / genetics*
  • Vestibular Diseases / metabolism
  • Vestibular Diseases / pathology


  • COCH protein, human
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proteins