PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
The increased availability of next generation sequencing has enabled a rapid progress in the discovery of genetic variants associated with vestibular disorders. We have summarized molecular genetics finding in vestibular syndromes during the last 18 months.
Genetic studies continue to shed light on the genetic background of vestibular disorders. Novel genes affecting brain development and otolith biogenesis have been associated with motion sickness. Exome sequencing has made possible to identify three rare single nucleotide variants in PRKCB, DPT and SEMA3D linked with familial Meniere disease. Moreover, superior canal dehiscence syndrome might be related with variants in CDH3 gene, by increasing risk of its development. On the other hand, the association between vestibular schwannoma and enlarged vestibular aqueduct with variants in NF2 and SLC26A4, respectively, seems increasingly clear. Finally, the use of mouse models is allowing further progress in the development gene therapy for hearing and vestibular monogenic disorders.
Most of episodic or progressive syndromes show familial clustering. A detailed phenotyping with a complete familial history of vestibular symptoms is required to conduct a genetic study. Progress in these studies will allow us to understand diseases mechanisms and improve their current medical treatments.