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Genetic insights, disease mechanisms, and biological therapeutics for Waardenburg syndrome

Abstract

Waardenburg syndrome (WS), also known as auditory-pigmentary syndrome, is the most common cause of syndromic hearing loss (HL), which accounts for approximately 2–5% of all patients with congenital hearing loss. WS is classified into four subtypes depending on the clinical phenotypes. Currently, pathogenic mutations of PAX3, MITF, SOX10, EDN3, EDNRB or SNAI2 are associated with different subtypes of WS. Although supportive techniques like hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive listening devices can alleviate the HL symptom, there is no cure for WS to date. Recently major progress has been achieved in preclinical studies of genetic HL in animal models, including gene delivery and stem cell replacement therapies. This review focuses on the current understandings of pathogenic mechanisms and potential biological therapeutic approaches for HL in WS, providing strategies and directions for implementing WS biological therapies, as well as possible problems to be faced, in the future.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2: Localization of the pathogenic gene mutations manifested in WS (figures modified from V. Pingault et al. 2010).
Fig. 3: Overview of the strategies of biotherapy for WS.
Fig. 4: Schematic of the stria vascularis and relevant structures in the cochlea.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81700923,81771023 and 81873705). We also thank LetPub for its linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.

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Huang, S., Song, J., He, C. et al. Genetic insights, disease mechanisms, and biological therapeutics for Waardenburg syndrome. Gene Ther (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41434-021-00240-2

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