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Characteristics of patients with vitamin B12-responsive neuropathy: a case series with systematic repeated electrophysiological assessment

Jérôme Franques, Laurent Chiche, André Maues De Paula, Aude Marie Grapperon, Shahram Attarian, Jean Pouget, Stephane Mathis
Neurological Research 2019 March 19, : 1-8

BACKGROUND: Vitamin B12 (B12) has a fundamental role in both central and peripheral nervous system function at all ages. Neurologic manifestations may be the earliest and often the only manifestation of B12 deficiency. Mostly because of the poor sensitivity of methods of determination for B12 levels, peripheral neuropathy remains a classical but underdiagnosed complication of B12 deficiency. So the clinical and electrophysiological characteristics of B12-responsive neuropathy are not well known.

METHODS: A retrospective study of patients with B12-responsive neuropathy was conducted at our hospital on a 3-year period. The criteria for inclusion were: (a) neuropathy confirmed by the electrophysiological study (nerve conduction study); and (b) improvement of at least 1 point of the total Overall Neuropathy Limitations Scale score after vitamin B12 treatment.

RESULTS: Nine patients were identified. Serum B12 level was low in only four. Four patients had sensorimotor (predominantly sensory) axonal polyneuropathy while five had only sensory neuronopathy. Six improved in less than 1 month after B12 supplementation.

CONCLUSION: B12-responsive neuropathy is a more heterogeneous group of neuropathy than previously described. B12 deficiency is a cause of peripheral neuropathy and should systematically be ruled out in the clinical setting of idiopathic neuropathy or sensory neuronopathy because of potential reversibility.

ABBREVIATIONS: B12: vitamin B12; CMAP: compound muscle action potentials; DRG: dorsal root ganglia; ENMG: electroneuromyography; MCCT: motor central conduction time; MEP: motor evoked potentials; MMA: methylmalonic acid; MMCoAM: L-methylmalonyl-CoenzymeA mutase; ONLS: overall neuropathy limitations scale; SCV: sensory conduction velocities; SNAP: sensory nerve action potentials; SNN: sensory neuronopathy; SSS: SNAP sum score.


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