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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Philine Wangemann, Anatomy & Physiology Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas; Email: wange@vet.k-state.edu

Authors' Contributions: PW designed and coordinated the immunocytochemical, morphometrical and molecular biological experiments.

EMI and BA carried out confocal immunocytochemistry on cryosections.

SJ and SVJ carried out confocal microscopy on whole-mounts of stria vascularis.

SVJ and RJM carried out quantitative RT-PCR.

DCM designed and coordinated electrophysiological experiments.

TW carried out measurements of the endocochlear potential and the endolymphatic K+ concentration.

JHL carried out current measurements on strial marginal cells.

SMW, LAE, IER and EDG provided the mice and the pendrin-specific antibody.

PW and DCM conceived the study. PW wrote the manuscript.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Disclosures: No competing interests declared.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by NIH-R01-DC01098 (PW), NIH-R01-DC00212 (DCM), NIH-R01-DK52935 (SMW) and Core facilities funded by NIH-P20-RR017686 (Confocal Microfluorometry and Microscopy Core, Molecular Biology Core) are gratefully acknowledged.

Loss of KCNJ10 protein expression abolishes endocochlear potential and causes deafness in Pendred syndrome mouse model

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Journal Title:

BMC Nephrology


Volume 2, Number 30


Type of Work:

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Background Pendred syndrome, a common autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by congenital deafness and goiter, is caused by mutations of SLC26A4, which codes for pendrin. We investigated the relationship between pendrin and deafness using mice that have (Slc26a4+/+) or lack a complete Slc26a4 gene (Slc26a4-/-). Methods Expression of pendrin and other proteins was determined by confocal immunocytochemistry. Expression of mRNA was determined by quantitative RT-PCR. The endocochlear potential and the endolymphatic K+ concentration were measured with double-barreled microelectrodes. Currents generated by the stria marginal cells were recorded with a vibrating probe. Tissue masses were evaluated by morphometric distance measurements and pigmentation was quantified by densitometry. Results Pendrin was found in the cochlea in apical membranes of spiral prominence cells and spindle-shaped cells of stria vascularis, in outer sulcus and root cells. Endolymph volume in Slc26a4-/- mice was increased and tissue masses in areas normally occupied by type I and II fibrocytes were reduced. Slc26a4-/- mice lacked the endocochlear potential, which is generated across the basal cell barrier by the K+ channel KCNJ10 localized in intermediate cells. Stria vascularis was hyperpigmented, suggesting unalleviated free radical damage. The basal cell barrier appeared intact; intermediate cells and KCNJ10 mRNA were present but KCNJ10 protein was absent. Endolymphatic K+ concentrations were normal and membrane proteins necessary for K+ secretion were present, including the K+ channel KCNQ1 and KCNE1, Na+/2Cl-/K+ cotransporter SLC12A2 and the gap junction GJB2. Conclusions These observations demonstrate that pendrin dysfunction leads to a loss of KCNJ10 protein expression and a loss of the endocochlear potential, which may be the direct cause of deafness in Pendred syndrome.

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© 2004 Wangemann et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).

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