The etiology of otosclerosis: a combination of genes and environment
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
The laryngoscope / American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society. - St.Louis, Mo.
, p. 1195-1202
University of Antwerp
Otosclerosis is a common form of hearing loss characterized by abnormal bone remodeling in the otic capsule. It is a complex genetic disease, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. During the past decade, several attempts have been made to identify factors for otosclerosis. This review provides an overview of the current understanding of the etiology of otosclerosis and describes the genetic and environmental factors that have been implicated in the disease. Environmental factors include fluoride and viral factors, particularly measles. Genetic association studies for otosclerosis have reported several associations of genetic variants that influence the risk of disease, mainly involving bone remodeling pathways, although their individual risk contributions are small. Rare monogenic forms of otosclerosis also exist, which are caused by a mutation in a single gene leading to a clear familial segregation of the disease. Linkage analysis of large otosclerosis families has led to the identification of seven loci, and recently evidence was found that T cell receptor beta is a gene responsible for familial otosclerosis, suggesting an underlying immunological pathway. However, this might also represent an autoimmune process, a hypothesis that is supported by other data as well. In conclusion, a variety of pathways have been identified to be involved in the development of otosclerosis, showing that distinct mechanisms involving both genetic and environmental risk factors can influence and contribute to a similar disease outcome.