Heat shock protein genetic polymorphisms tied to age-related hearing impairment
Recent research published in the Journal of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has revealed that heat shock protein polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to age-related hearing impairment (ARH) in the elderly population.
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.
Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor's advice, respond to warnings, and hear phones, doorbells, and smoke alarms. Hearing loss can also make it hard to enjoy talking with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation.
Age-related hearing impairment (ARHI) is a major disability among the elderly population. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) were found to be associated with ARHI in animal studies.
Hence, the team of researchers from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan led by Ning-Chia Chang conducted the present study with the aim to analyze the associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of HSP genes with ARHI in an elderly population in Taiwan.
Participants ≥65 years of age were recruited for audiometric tests and genetic analyses. The pure tone average (PTA) of the better hearing ear was calculated for ARHI evaluation.
The associations of HSPA1L (rs2075800 and rs2227956), HSPA1A (rs1043618) and HSPA1B (rs2763979) with ARHI were analyzed in 146 ARHI-susceptible (cases) and 146 ARHI-resistant (controls) participants.
The following results were seen-
a. The "T" allele of HSPA1B rs2763979 showed a decreased risk of ARHI.
b. The "TT" genotype of rs2763979 also showed a decreased risk of ARHI in the dominant hereditary model.
c. For HSPA1L (rs2075800 and rs2227956) and HSPA1A (rs1043618), the haplotype "CAG" was related to a decreased risk of ARHI.
Therefore, the authors concluded that "these findings suggest that HSP70 polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to ARHI in the elderly population."