The frequency of three mitochondrial point mutations, 1555A→G, 3243A→G, and 7445A→G, known to be associated with hearing impairment, was examined using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis in two Japanese groups: (1) 319 unrelated SNHL outpatients (including 21 with aminoglycoside antibiotic injection history), and (2) 140 cochlear implantation patients (including 22 with aminoglycoside induced hearing loss). Approximately 3% of the outpatients and 10% of the cochlear implantation patients had the 1555A→G mutation. The frequency was higher in the patients with a history of aminoglycoside injection (outpatient group 33%, cochlear implantation group 59%). One outpatient (0.314%) had the 3243A→G mutation, but no outpatients had the 7445A→G mutation and neither were found in the cochlear implantation group. The significance of the 1555A→G mutation, the most prevalent mitochondrial mutation found in this study of a hearing impaired population in Japan, among subjects with specific backgrounds, such as aminoglycoside induced hearing loss, is evident.
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