RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Inherited demyelinating neuropathies with micromutations of peripheral myelin protein 22 gene.

Brain 2011 Februrary
The peripheral myelin protein 22 gene (PMP22) encodes an intrinsic membrane protein of compact myelin. Duplication or deletion of PMP22 causes the most common autosomal dominant neuropathies, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A or hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A is a hypertrophic de-remyelinating neuropathy manifesting with peroneal muscular atrophy and uniform, marked, slowing of nerve conduction velocities. Hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies is a recurrent focal neuropathy with sausage-like myelin thickening (tomacula) and non-uniform nerve conduction velocity changes. Missense or nonsense mutations also cause more severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A forms of infancy or hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies, but they are presumably very rare. We performed a mutational scanning of PMP22 in 229 index patients (46 familial, 183 isolated) referred for suspected inherited neuropathy. The series included 125 cases with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (mean age 42.5 years), 47 cases with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (motor nerve conduction velocities at median nerve below 38 m/s) (mean age 40.7 years) and 57 cases with Charcot-Marie-Tooth with unknown nerve conduction velocities (mean age 43 years). Preliminary molecular studies ruled out PMP22 duplication or deletion or mutations in a comprehensive panel of Charcot-Marie-Tooth genes. Mutational scanning of PMP22 was done by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography and automated nucleotide sequencing. To investigate the molecular basis of phenotype-to-genotype correlations, we performed a transcriptional analysis of PMP22 using reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in two phenotypically divergent nerve biopsies. Ten patients harboured eight micromutations of PMP22 including four novel changes. In six familial and three sporadic cases, detected mutations caused premature or delayed stop codons and were associated with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies; the related pathological pictures ranged from classical tomaculous neuropathy to a mild demyelinating neuropathy with atypical non-tomaculous myelin thickenings. In a single family a c.179-2A> G mutation affecting the splice acceptor site of intron 2 cosegregated with a Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A-like syndrome and a peculiar pathological picture of demyelinating neuropathy without Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A-like classical onion bulbs or tomacula. Transcriptional analysis of a novel c.174_178 + 7delAAACGGTGAGGC deletion involving exon 2 and intron 2 demonstrated an unstable mutant transcript leading to a p.Asn59GlyfsX12 change; the mutation represented a null allele and caused a typical tomaculous hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. The Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1-like c.179-2A > G allele led to a stable transcript with an in-frame deletion of exon 3 (p.Glu60_Ala106del); the predicted shorter protein could exert variable molecular effects. In conclusion, micromutations of PMP22 cause a clinical and pathological continuum of demyelinating neuropathies that may include atypical phenotypes.

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