Hearing loss in a mouse model of 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 14;8(11):e80104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080104. eCollection 2013.


22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) arises from an interstitial chromosomal microdeletion encompassing at least 30 genes. This disorder is one of the most significant known cytogenetic risk factors for schizophrenia, and can also cause heart abnormalities, cognitive deficits, hearing difficulties, and a variety of other medical problems. The Df1/+ hemizygous knockout mouse, a model for human 22q11DS, recapitulates many of the deficits observed in the human syndrome including heart defects, impaired memory, and abnormal auditory sensorimotor gating. Here we show that Df1/+ mice, like human 22q11DS patients, have substantial rates of hearing loss arising from chronic middle ear infection. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) measurements revealed significant elevation of click-response thresholds in 48% of Df1/+ mice, often in only one ear. Anatomical and histological analysis of the middle ear demonstrated no gross structural abnormalities, but frequent signs of otitis media (OM, chronic inflammation of the middle ear), including excessive effusion and thickened mucosa. In mice for which both in vivo ABR thresholds and post mortem middle-ear histology were obtained, the severity of signs of OM correlated directly with the level of hearing impairment. These results suggest that abnormal auditory sensorimotor gating previously reported in mouse models of 22q11DS could arise from abnormalities in auditory processing. Furthermore, the findings indicate that Df1/+ mice are an excellent model for increased risk of OM in human 22q11DS patients. Given the frequently monaural nature of OM in Df1/+ mice, these animals could also be a powerful tool for investigating the interplay between genetic and environmental causes of OM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / complications
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / genetics*
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / microbiology
  • DiGeorge Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ear, Middle / microbiology
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Hearing Loss / complications
  • Hearing Loss / genetics*
  • Hearing Loss / microbiology
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Hemizygote
  • Humans
  • Lactococcus / growth & development
  • Lactococcus / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / genetics*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / microbiology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / physiopathology
  • Pantoea / growth & development
  • Pantoea / isolation & purification
  • Severity of Illness Index