Lights and shadows in the genetics of syndromic and non-syndromic hearing loss in the Italian population

Anna Morgan, Stefania Lenarduzzi, Beatrice Spedicati, Elisabetta Cattaruzzi, Flora Maria Murru, Giulia Pelliccione, Daniela Mazzà, Marcella Zollino, Claudio Graziano, Umberto Ambrosetti, Marco Seri, Flavio Faletra, Giorgia Girotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hearing loss (HL), both syndromic (SHL) and non-syndromic (NSHL), is the most common sensory disorder, affecting ~460 million people worldwide. More than 50% of the congenital/childhood cases are attributable to genetic causes, highlighting the importance of genetic testing in this class of disorders. Here we applied a multi-step strategy for the molecular diagnosis of HL in 125 patients, which included: (1) an accurate clinical evaluation, (2) the analysis of GJB2, GJB6, and MT-RNR1 genes, (3) the evaluation STRC-CATSPER2 and OTOA deletions via Multiplex Ligation Probe Amplification (MLPA), (4) Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in patients negative to steps 2 and 3. Our approach led to the characterization of 50% of the NSHL cases, confirming both the relevant role of the GJB2 (20% of cases) and STRC deletions (6% of cases), and the high genetic heterogeneity of NSHL. Moreover, due to the genetic findings, 4% of apparent NSHL patients have been re-diagnosed as SHL. Finally, WES characterized 86% of SHL patients, supporting the role of already know disease-genes. Overall, our approach proved to be efficient in identifying the molecular cause of HL, providing essential information for the patients’ future management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1237
Number of pages16
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Hereditary hearing loss
  • MLPA
  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Whole exome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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