Recessive mutations in the SLC26A4 gene are a common cause of hereditary hearing impairment worldwide. Previous studies have demonstrated that different SLC26A4 mutations may have different pathogenetic mechanisms. In the present study, we established a knock-in mouse model (i.e., Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuhmice) homozygous for the c.919-2A>G mutation, which is a common mutation in East Asians. Mice were then subjected to audiologic assessment, a battery of vestibular evaluations, and inner ear morphological studies. All Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuhmice revealed profound hearing loss, whereas 46% mice demonstrated pronounced head tilting and circling behaviors. There was a significant difference in the vestibular performance between wild-type and Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuhmice, especially those exhibiting circling behavior. Inner ear morphological examination of Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuhmice revealed an enlarged endolymphatic duct, vestibular aqueduct and sac, atrophy of stria vascularis, deformity of otoconia in the vestibular organs, consistent degeneration of cochlear hair cells, and variable degeneration of vestibular hair cells. Audiologic and inner ear morphological features of Slc26a4tm1Dontuh/tm1Dontuhmice were reminiscent of those observed in humans. These features were also similar to those previously reported in both knock-out Slc26a4-/-mice and Slc26a4loop/loopmice with the Slc26a4 p.S408F mutation, albeit the severity of vestibular hair cell degeneration appeared different among the three mouse strains. © 2011 Lu et al.
Lu, Y. C., Wu, C. C., Shen, W. S., Yang, T. H., Yeh, T. H., Chen, P. J., … Hsu, C. J. (2011). Establishment of a knock-in mouse model with the SLC26A4 c.919-2a>G mutation and characterization of its pathology. PLoS ONE, 6(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022150