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Genetic variation in RCOR1 is associated with tinnitus in UK Biobank

By Helena Rose Rees Wells, Fatin N Zainul Abidin, Maxim Freidin, Frances MK Williams, Sally J Dawson

Posted 13 Sep 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.11.20192583

Tinnitus is a prevalent condition in which perception of sound occurs without an external stimulus. It is often associated with pre-existing hearing loss or noise-induced damage to the auditory system. In some individuals it occurs frequently or even continuously and leads to considerable distress and difficulty sleeping. There is little knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in tinnitus which has hindered the development of treatments. Evidence suggests that tinnitus has a heritable component although previous genetic studies have not established specific risk factors. We performed a case-control genome-wide association study for self-reported tinnitus in 172,608 UK Biobank volunteers. Three variants in close proximity to the RCOR1 gene reached genome wide significance: rs4906228 (p=1.7E-08), rs4900545 (p=1.8E-08) and 14:103042287_CT_C (p=3.50E-08). RCOR1 encodes REST Corepressor 1, a component of a co-repressor complex involved in repressing neuronal gene expression in non-neuronal cells. Eleven other independent genetic loci reached a suggestive significance threshold of p<1E-06.

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