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Diagnostic value of nerve conduction study in NOTCH2NLC-related neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease (NIID) is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder mainly caused by abnormally expanded GGC repeats within the NOTCH2NLC gene. Most patients with NIID show polyneuropathy. Here, we aim to investigate diagnostic electrophysiological markers of NIID.

METHODS: In this retrospective dual-center study, we reviewed 96 patients with NOTCH2NLC-related NIID, 94 patients with genetically confirmed Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, and 62 control participants without history of peripheral neuropathy, who underwent nerve conduction studies between 2018 and 2022.

RESULTS: Peripheral nerve symptoms were presented by 53.1% of patients with NIID, whereas 97.9% of them showed peripheral neuropathy according to electrophysiological examinations. Patients with NIID were characterized by slight demyelinating sensorimotor polyneuropathy; some patients also showed mild axonal lesions. Motor nerve conduction velocity (MCV) of the median nerve usually exceeded 35 m/s, and were found to be negatively correlated with the GGC repeat sizes. Regarding the electrophysiological differences between muscle weakness type (n = 27) and non-muscle weakness type (n = 69) of NIID, nerve conduction abnormalities were more severe in the muscle weakness type involving both demyelination and axonal impairment. Notably, specific DWI subcortical lace sign was presented in only 33.3% of muscle weakness type, thus it was difficult to differentiate them from CMT. Combining age of onset, distal motor latency, and compound muscle action potential of the median nerve showed the optimal diagnostic performance to distinguish NIID from major CMT (AUC = 0.989, sensitivity = 92.6%, specificity = 97.4%).

INTERPRETATION: Peripheral polyneuropathy is common in NIID. Our study suggest that nerve conduction study is useful to discriminate NIID.

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