- Published on 29 April 2021
Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain have made a breakthrough discovery relating genes to tinnitus, specifically genes ANK2, TSC2 and AKAP9 in patients with Meniere’s disease (MD). The work opens the way to new drug treatments.
The author underlines that 15% of the population is affected by tinnitus, with severe tinnitus disturbing quality of life in one percent of people. Studies show a significant heritability factor in such cases.
And the study, which appears in the April issue of EbioMedicine (published by The Lancet) reports on the finding of an excess of rare variants in ANK2, TSC2 and AKAP9 genes in Spanish patients with tinnitus extreme phenotype in Meniere disease patients. The results were replicated in a Swedish cohort of individuals with severe tinnitus. These associations, however, were not significant in a third cohort of epilepsy individuals without tinnitus.
Our findings show that the proteins producing these genes would be involved in the reorganisation of the connections between the neurons that cause the noises. The ANK2 gene has been linked to autism, a developmental disorder that also involves sensitivity to noise,” explained the study’s principal author, José Antonio López Escámez, of UGR’s surgical specialties department.
The work forms part of the PhD thesis of Sana Amanat, a predoctoral student on the UGR Biomedicine Programme and the European School for Interdisciplinary Research on Tinnitus. The research has been carried out in cooperation with several centres in Spain, Sweden, the UK, and Luxembourg.
Studying tinnitus linked to different disorders can lead to the identification of molecular mechanisms, early diagnosis, and the application of new drugs for treating tinnitus.