Dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B is caused by mutations in dynamin 2. We studied the clinical, haematological, electrophysiological and sural nerve biopsy findings in 34 patients belonging to six unrelated dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B families in whom a dynamin 2 mutation had been identified: Gly358Arg (Spain); Asp551_Glu553del; Lys550fs (North America); Lys558del (Belgium); Lys558Glu (Australia, the Netherlands) and Thr855_Ile856del (Belgium). The Gly358Arg and Thr855_Ile856del mutations were novel, and in contrast to the other Charcot-Marie-Tooth-related mutations in dynamin 2, which are all located in the pleckstrin homology domain, they were situated in the middle domain and proline-rich domain of dynamin 2, respectively. We report the first disease-causing mutation in the proline-rich domain of dynamin 2. Patients with a dynamin 2 mutation presented with a classical Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, which was mild to moderately severe since only 3% of the patients were wheelchair-bound. The mean age at onset was 16 years with a large variability ranging from 2 to 50 years. Interestingly, in the Australian and Belgian families, which carry two different mutations affecting the same amino acid (Lys558), Charcot-Marie-Tooth cosegregated with neutropaenia. In addition, early onset cataracts were observed in one of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth families. Our electrophysiological data indicate intermediate or axonal motor median nerve conduction velocities (NCV) ranging from 26 m/s to normal values in four families, and less pronounced reduction of motor median NCV (41–46 m/s) with normal amplitudes in two families. Sural nerve biopsy in a Dutch patient with Lys558Glu mutation showed diffuse loss of large myelinated fibres, presence of many clusters of regenerating myelinated axons and fibres with focal myelin thickenings—findings very similar to those previously reported in the Australian family. We conclude that dynamin 2 mutations should be screened in the autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy families with intermediate or axonal NCV, and in patients with a classical mild to moderately severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, especially when Charcot-Marie-Tooth is associated with neutropaenia or cataracts.
intermediate CMT; dynamin 2; neutropaenia; hereditary neuropathy; cataracts
Much of the clinical disability in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease 1A results from secondary axon loss. Hantke et al. show that the transcription factor c-Jun is upregulated in Schwann cells in a mouse model of the disorder, and that this protects against axon loss. Targeting this axon-supportive mechanism may have therapeutic potential.
Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A is the most frequent inherited peripheral neuropathy. It is generally due to heterozygous inheritance of a partial chromosomal duplication resulting in over-expression of PMP22. A key feature of Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A is secondary death of axons. Prevention of axonal loss is therefore an important target of clinical intervention. We have previously identified a signalling mechanism that promotes axon survival and prevents neuron death in mechanically injured peripheral nerves. This work suggested that Schwann cells respond to injury by activating/enhancing trophic support for axons through a mechanism that depends on upregulation of the transcription factor c-Jun in Schwann cells, resulting in the sparing of axons that would otherwise die. As c-Jun orchestrates Schwann cell support for distressed neurons after mechanical injury, we have now asked: do Schwann cells also activate a c-Jun dependent neuron-supportive programme in inherited demyelinating disease? We tested this by using the C3 mouse model of Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A. In line with our previous findings in humans with Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A, we found that Schwann cell c-Jun was elevated in (uninjured) nerves of C3 mice. We determined the impact of this c-Jun activation by comparing C3 mice with double mutant mice, namely C3 mice in which c-Jun had been conditionally inactivated in Schwann cells (C3/Schwann cell-c-Jun−/− mice), using sensory-motor tests and electrophysiological measurements, and by counting axons in proximal and distal nerves. The results indicate that c-Jun elevation in the Schwann cells of C3 nerves serves to prevent loss of myelinated sensory axons, particularly in distal nerves, improve behavioural symptoms, and preserve F-wave persistence. This suggests that Schwann cells have two contrasting functions in Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A: on the one hand they are the genetic source of the disease, on the other, they respond to it by mounting a c-Jun-dependent response that significantly reduces its impact. Because axonal death is a central feature of much nerve pathology it will be important to establish whether an axon-supportive Schwann cell response also takes place in other conditions. Amplification of this axon-supportive mechanism constitutes a novel target for clinical intervention that might be useful in Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A and other neuropathies that involve axon loss.
axonal degeneration; demyelinating disease; neural repair; neuron-glial interaction; neuropathy
Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that in models for three distinct forms of the inherited and incurable nerve disorder, Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathy, low-grade inflammation implicating phagocytosing macrophages mediates demyelination and perturbation of axons. In the present study, we focus on colony-stimulating factor-1, a cytokine implicated in macrophage differentiation, activation and proliferation and fostering neural damage in a model for Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathy 1B. By crossbreeding a model for the X-linked form of Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathy with osteopetrotic mice, a spontaneous null mutant for colony-stimulating factor-1, we demonstrate a robust and persistent amelioration of demyelination and axon perturbation. Furthermore, functionally important domains of the peripheral nervous system, such as juxtaparanodes and presynaptic terminals, were preserved in the absence of colony-stimulating factor-1-dependent macrophage activation. As opposed to other Schwann cell-derived cytokines, colony-stimulating factor-1 is expressed by endoneurial fibroblasts, as revealed by in situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry and detection of β-galactosidase expression driven by the colony-stimulating factor-1 promoter. By both light and electron microscopic studies, we detected extended cell–cell contacts between the colony-stimulating factor-1-expressing fibroblasts and endoneurial macrophages as a putative prerequisite for the effective and constant activation of macrophages by fibroblasts in the chronically diseased nerve. Interestingly, in human biopsies from patients with Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1, we also found frequent cell–cell contacts between macrophages and endoneurial fibroblasts and identified the latter as main source for colony-stimulating factor-1. Therefore, our study provides strong evidence for a similarly pathogenic role of colony-stimulating factor-1 in genetically mediated demyelination in mice and Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1 disease in humans. Thus, colony-stimulating factor-1 or its cognate receptor are promising target molecules for treating the detrimental, low-grade inflammation of several inherited neuropathies in humans.
inflammation; endoneurial fibroblasts; myelin, axonopathy; neuromuscular junction
We reviewed dinical, histological and ultrastructural findings of 124 cases of sural nerve biopsy specimens to delineate the trends of peripheral nerve diseases in our institute. Eighty-one were men and 43 were women. We categorized them into five groups: specific diagnosis (66 cases, 53.2%), axonal degeneration type (47 cases, 37.9%), demyelinating type (4 cases, 3.2%), mixed axonal degeneration-demyelinating type (6 cases, 4.8%) and normal (1 case, 0.9%). Cases with specific diagnosis included 21 inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (15 chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, 6 Guillain-Barre disease), 13 hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (7 Charcot-Marie-Tooth type I, 6 Charcot-Marie-Tooth type II), 10 vasculitis, 6 toxic neuropathy, 4 leprosy, 3 diabetic neuropathy, 2 alcoholic neuropathy, 1 Fabry's disease and other specific diseases (5 cases). In our cases, the proportion of specific diagnoses was higher, while the proportion of demyelinating peripheral neuropathies and normal were lower than those of Western series. The results of this study indicate that 1) a dose clinicopathologic correlation is important to make a precise diagnosis of peripheral nerve biopsy, 2) Biopsy under strict indication may reduce unnecessary histologic examination, 3) There is no difference in disease pattern of peripheral neuropathy between Western people and Koreans.
We previously reported that autosomal recessive demyelinating Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type 4B1 neuropathy with myelin outfoldings is caused by loss of MTMR2 (Myotubularin-related 2) in humans, and we created a faithful mouse model of the disease. MTMR2 dephosphorylates both PtdIns3P and PtdIns(3,5)P2, thereby regulating membrane trafficking. However, the function of MTMR2 and the role of the MTMR2 phospholipid phosphatase activity in vivo in the nerve still remain to be assessed. Mutations in FIG4 are associated with CMT4J neuropathy characterized by both axonal and myelin damage in peripheral nerve. Loss of Fig4 function in the plt (pale tremor) mouse produces spongiform degeneration of the brain and peripheral neuropathy. Since FIG4 has a role in generation of PtdIns(3,5)P2 and MTMR2 catalyzes its dephosphorylation, these two phosphatases might be expected to have opposite effects in the control of PtdIns(3,5)P2 homeostasis and their mutations might have compensatory effects in vivo. To explore the role of the MTMR2 phospholipid phosphatase activity in vivo, we generated and characterized the Mtmr2/Fig4 double null mutant mice. Here we provide strong evidence that Mtmr2 and Fig4 functionally interact in both Schwann cells and neurons, and we reveal for the first time a role of Mtmr2 in neurons in vivo. Our results also suggest that imbalance of PtdIns(3,5)P2 is at the basis of altered longitudinal myelin growth and of myelin outfolding formation. Reduction of Fig4 by null heterozygosity and downregulation of PIKfyve both rescue Mtmr2-null myelin outfoldings in vivo and in vitro.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 4B1 (CMT4B1) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 4J (CMT4J) are severe autosomal recessive demyelinating neuropathies with childhood onset. We previously demonstrated that loss of the phospholipid phosphatase MTMR2 causes CMT4B1 with myelin outfoldings in human and mouse and that loss of the phospholipid phosphatase FIG4 causes CMT4J and neurodegeneration in the mouse. MTMR2 has a predicted role in membrane trafficking, which is crucial for myelin membrane biogenesis and homeostasis. However, the biochemical activity of MTMR2 in vivo and the role of MTMR2 in myelination still remain to be assessed. MTMR2 and FIG4 act on the same phospholipid substrate PtdIns(3,5)P2, but with predicted opposite effects. We generated a double Mtmr2/Fig4-null mouse which showed that Mtmr2 and Fig4 interact in neurons and Schwann cells to control phospholipid metabolism. Moreover, Mtmr2-null myelin outfoldings are rescued by Fig4 heterozygosity, suggesting that imbalance of PtdIns(3,5)P2 is at the basis of the excessive myelin growth and hypermyelination.
We used the allele-specific PCR-double digestion method on peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) to determine duplication and deletion mutations in the proband and family members of one family with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1 and one family with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. The proband and one subclinical family member from the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1 family had a PMP22 gene duplication; one patient from the hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies family had a PMP22 gene deletion. Electron microscopic analysis of ultrathin sections of the superficial peroneal nerve from the two probands demonstrated demyelination and myelin sheath hyperplasia, as well as an ‘onion-like’ structure in the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A patient. We observed an irregular thickened myelin sheath and ‘mouse-nibbled’-like changes in the patient with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. In the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A patient, nerve electrophysiological examination revealed moderate-to-severe reductions in the motor and sensory conduction velocities of the bilateral median nerve, ulnar nerve, tibial nerve, and sural nerve. Moreover, the compound muscle action potential amplitude was decreased. In the patient with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies, the nerve conduction velocity of the bilateral tibial nerve and sural nerve was moderately reduced, and the nerve conduction velocity of the median nerve and ulnar nerve of both upper extremities was slightly reduced.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies; peripheral myelin protein 22; gene mutation; PCR-double digestion method; myelin sheath; action potential; neuropathology; neural regeneration
X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X) is an inherited peripheral neuropathy caused by mutations in GJB1, the gene that encodes the gap junction protein connexin32 (Cx32). Cx32 is expressed by myelinating Schwann cells and forms gap junctions in non-compact myelin areas but axonal involvement is more prominent in X-linked compared to other forms of demyelinating Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. To clarify the cellular and molecular mechanisms of axonal pathology in CMT1X, we studied Gjb1-null mice at early stages (i.e. 2- to 4-month-old) of the neuropathy, when there is minimal or no demyelination. The diameters of large myelinated axons were progressively reduced in Gjb1-null mice compared to those in wild type littermates. Furthermore, neurofilaments were relatively more dephosphorylated and more densely packed starting at 2 months of age. Increased expression of β-amyloid precursor protein, a marker of axonal damage, was also detected in Gjb1-null nerves. Finally, fast axonal transport, assayed by sciatic nerve ligation experiments, was slower in distal axons of Gjb1-null vs. wild type animals with reduced accumulation of synaptic vesicle-associated proteins. These findings demonstrate that axonal abnormalities including impaired cytoskeletal organization and defects in axonal transport precede demyelination in this mouse model of CMT1-X.
Axonal degeneration; Axonal transport; Charcot-Marie Tooth; Connexin32; Cx32; Gap junctions; Neurofilaments
We recently found that S100A4, a member of the multifunctional S100 protein family, protects neurons in the injured brain and identified two sequence motifs in S100A4 mediating its neurotrophic effect. Synthetic peptides encompassing these motifs stimulated neuritogenesis and survival in vitro and mimicked the S100A4-induced neuroprotection in brain trauma. Here, we investigated a possible function of S100A4 and its mimetics in the pathologies of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). We found that S100A4 was expressed in the injured PNS and that its peptide mimetic (H3) affected the regeneration and survival of myelinated axons. H3 accelerated electrophysiological, behavioral and morphological recovery after sciatic nerve crush while transiently delaying regeneration after sciatic nerve transection and repair. On the basis of the finding that both S100A4 and H3 increased neurite branching in vitro, these effects were attributed to the modulatory effect of H3 on initial axonal sprouting. In contrast to the modest effect of H3 on the time course of regeneration, H3 had a long-term neuroprotective effect in the myelin protein P0 null mice, a model of dysmyelinating neuropathy (Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 disease), where the peptide attenuated the deterioration of nerve conduction, demyelination and axonal loss. From these results, S100A4 mimetics emerge as a possible means to enhance axonal sprouting and survival, especially in the context of demyelinating neuropathies with secondary axonal loss, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 disease. Moreover, our data suggest that S100A4 is a neuroprotectant in PNS and that other S100 proteins, sharing high homology in the H3 motif, may have important functions in PNS pathologies.
Animal and plant cells compartmentalize to perform morphogenetic functions. Compartmentalization of myelin-forming Schwann cells may favor elongation of myelin segments to the size required for efficient conduction of nerve impulses. Compartments in myelinated fibers were described by Ramon-y-Cajal and depend on periaxin, mutated in the hereditary neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth 4F. Lack of periaxin in mice causes loss of compartments, formation of short myelin segments (internodes) and reduced nerve conduction velocity. How compartments are formed and maintained, and their relevance to human neuropathies is largely unknown. Here we show that formation of compartments around myelin is driven by the actin cytoskeleton, and maintained by actin and tubulin fences through linkage to the dystroglycan complex. Compartmentalization and establishment of correct internodal length requires the presence of glycosylated dystroglycan, utrophin and extracellular laminin-2/211. A neuropathic patient with reduced internodal length and nerve conduction velocity due to absence of laminin-2/211 (congenital muscular dystrophy 1A) also shows abnormal compartmentalization. These data link formation of compartments through a laminin2-dystroglycan-utrophin-actin axis to internodal length, and provide a common pathogenetic mechanism for two inherited human neuropathies. Other cell types may exploit dystroglycan complexes in similar fashions to create barriers and compartments.
Cajal-bands; Schwann cell compartments; Dystroglycan complex; internodal length; myelin; inherited peripheral neuropathies
The small GTPase Rab7 is a key regulator of endosomal maturation in eukaryotic cells. Mutations in rab7 are thought to cause the dominant neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B (CMT2B) by a gain-of-function mechanism. Here we show that loss of rab7, but not overexpression of rab7 CMT2B mutants, causes adult-onset neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model. All CMT2B mutant proteins retain 10–50% function based on quantitative imaging, electrophysiology, and rescue experiments in sensory and motor neurons in vivo. Consequently, expression of CMT2B mutants at levels between 0.5 and 10-fold their endogenous levels fully rescues the neuropathy-like phenotypes of the rab7 mutant. Live imaging reveals that CMT2B proteins are inefficiently recruited to endosomes, but do not impair endosomal maturation. These findings are not consistent with a gain-of-function mechanism. Instead, they indicate a dosage-dependent sensitivity of neurons to rab7-dependent degradation. Our results suggest a therapeutic approach opposite to the currently proposed reduction of mutant protein function.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited disorder of the nervous system with symptoms that typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood. The sensory and motor nerves gradually degenerate, causing muscles to waste away and leading to the loss of touch sensation across the body. One subtype of the disease—Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B—is caused by mutations in a gene called rab7, which codes for a protein that helps to regulate the breakdown of waste proteins inside cells.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B is described as a genetically dominant disorder because all patients have one wild type copy and one mutant copy of the rab7 gene. Overexpression of the mutant gene in cells grown in culture alters many of the signaling pathways inside the cells, but it is unclear whether these alterations cause the pathology seen in the disease.
Now, Cherry et al. have obtained new insights into the genetics of Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B by creating the first animal model of the disorder. Fruit flies that did not have the rab7 gene in the light-sensitive sensory neurons in their eyes were used to compare normal and mutant cells. While the two cell types were initially similar, the mutant cells gradually degenerated in the adult animal. By contrast, cells that overexpressed a mutant form of the rab7 gene continued to function normally throughout adulthood. Moreover, when mutant Rab7 proteins were introduced into the cells that lacked the rab7 gene, the proteins restored the cells’ sensitivity to light. These results suggest that mutant Rab7 proteins do not cause degeneration; instead, it is the loss of normal Rab7 function that causes problems.
At present, most research into treatment is aimed at finding ways to reduce the activity of mutant Rab7 proteins. However, the work of Cherry et al. suggests that increasing the activity of normal Rab7 proteins—or increasing the activity of alternative pathways that degrade waste proteins—may help to restore nerve function in this, and possibly other, neurodegenerative diseases.
endosome; neuropathy; genetics; synapse; D. melanogaster
The X-linked form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X) is the second most common form of hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. The clinical phenotype is characterized by progressive weakness, atrophy, and sensory abnormalities that are most pronounced in the distal extremities. Some patients have CNS manifestations. Affected males have moderate to severe symptoms, whereas heterozygous females are usually less affected. Neurophysiology shows intermediate slowing of conduction and length-dependent axonal loss. Nerve biopsies show more prominent axonal degeneration than de/remyelination. Mutations in GJB1, the gene that encodes the gap junction (GJ) protein connexin32 (Cx32) cause CMT1X; more than 400 different mutations have been described. Many Cx32 mutants fail to form functional GJs, or form GJs with abnormal biophysical properties. Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes express Cx32, and the GJs formed by Cx32 play an important role in the homeostasis of myelinated axons. Animal models of CMT1X demonstrate that loss of Cx32 in myelinating Schwann cells causes a demyelinating neuropathy. Effective therapies remain to be developed.
CMT; neuropathy; connexin32; gap junctions; Schwann cells; oligodendrocytes; myelin
Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1C (CMT1C) is a dominantly inherited motor and sensory neuropathy. Despite human genetic evidence linking missense mutations in SIMPLE to CMT1C, the in vivo role of CMT1C-linked SIMPLE mutations remains undetermined. To investigate the molecular mechanism underlying CMT1C pathogenesis, we generated transgenic mice expressing either wild-type or CMT1C-linked W116G human SIMPLE. Mice expressing mutant, but not wild type, SIMPLE develop a late-onset motor and sensory neuropathy that recapitulates key clinical features of CMT1C disease. SIMPLE mutant mice exhibit motor and sensory behavioral impairments accompanied by decreased motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity and reduced compound muscle action potential amplitude. This neuropathy phenotype is associated with focally infolded myelin loops that protrude into the axons at paranodal regions and near Schmidt–Lanterman incisures of peripheral nerves. We find that myelin infolding is often linked to constricted axons with signs of impaired axonal transport and to paranodal defects and abnormal organization of the node of Ranvier. Our findings support that SIMPLE mutation disrupts myelin homeostasis and causes peripheral neuropathy via a combination of toxic gain-of-function and dominant-negative mechanisms. The results from this study suggest that myelin infolding and paranodal damage may represent pathogenic precursors preceding demyelination and axonal degeneration in CMT1C patients.
Recently, mutations in the transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 4 gene (TRPV4) have been reported in Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2C (CMT2C) with vocal cord paresis. Other mutations in this same gene have been described in separate families with various skeletal dysplasias. Further clarification is needed of the different phenotypes associated with this gene.
We performed clinical evaluation, electrophysiology, and genetic analysis of the TRPV4 gene in 2 families with CMT2C.
Two multigenerational families had a motor greater than sensory axonal neuropathy associated with variable vocal cord paresis. The vocal cord paresis varied from absent to severe, requiring permanent tracheotomy in 2 subjects. One family with mild neuropathy also manifested pronounced short stature, more than 2 SD below the average height for white Americans. There was one instance of dolichocephaly. A novel S542Y mutation in the TRPV4 gene was identified in this family. The other family had a more severe, progressive, motor neuropathy with sensory loss, but less remarkable short stature and an R315W mutation in TRPV4. Third cranial nerve involvement and sleep apnea occurred in one subject in each family.
CMT2C with axonal neuropathy, vocal cord paresis, and short stature is a unique syndrome associated with mutations in the TRPV4 gene. Mutations in TRPV4 can cause abnormalities in bone, peripheral nerve, or both and may result in highly variable orthopedic and neurologic phenotypes.
= compound muscle action potential;
= Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2C;
= hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy;
= nerve conduction velocity;
= restriction fragment length polymorphism;
= spinal muscular atrophy;
= sensory nerve action potential;
= scapuloperoneal spinal muscular atrophy.
X-linked Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT1X) is an inherited peripheral neuropathy caused by mutations in GJB1, the human gene for Connexin32 (Cx32). This present study uses Ilumina Ref8-v2 BeadArray to examine the expression profiles of injured and uninjured sciatic nerves at 5, 7, and 14 days post-crush injury (dpi) from Wild Type (WT) and Cx32-knockout (Cx32KO) mice to identify the genes and signaling pathways that are dysregulated in the absence of Schwann cell Cx32. Given the assumption that loss of Schwann cell Cx32 disrupts the regeneration and maintenance of myelinated nerve leading to a demyelinating neuropathy in CMT1X, we initially hypothesized that nerve crush injury would result in significant increases in differential gene expression in Cx32KO mice relative to WT nerves. However, microarray analysis revealed a striking collapse in the number of differentially expressed genes at 5 and 7 dpi in Cx32KO nerves relative to WT, while uninjured and 14dpi time points showed large numbers of differentially regulated genes. Further comparisons within each genotype showed limited changes in Cx32KO gene expression following crush injury when compared to uninjured Cx32KO nerves. By contrast, WT nerves exhibited robust changes in gene expression at 5 and 7dpi with no significant differences in gene expression by 14dpi relative to uninjured WT nerve samples. Taken together, these data suggest the gene expression profile in uninjured Cx32KO sciatic nerve strongly resembles that of a WT nerve following injury and that loss of Schwann cell Cx32 leads to a basal state of gene expression similar to that of an injured WT nerve. These findings support a role for Cx32 in non-myelinating and regenerating populations of Schwann cells in normal axonal maintenance in re-myelination, and regeneration of peripheral nerve following injury. Disruption of Schwann cell-axonal communication in CMT1X may cause dysregulation of signaling pathways that are essential for the maintenance of intact myelinated peripheral nerves and to establish the necessary conditions for successful regeneration and remyelination following nerve injury.
CMT1X; Regeneration; Peripheral Nerve Injury; Schwann Cells; Non-myelinating; differential gene expression
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is the most common inherited sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy. It is caused by PMP22 overexpression which leads to defects of peripheral myelination, loss of long axons, and progressive impairment then disability. There is no treatment available despite observations that monotherapeutic interventions slow progression in rodent models. We thus hypothesized that a polytherapeutic approach using several drugs, previously approved for other diseases, could be beneficial by simultaneously targeting PMP22 and pathways important for myelination and axonal integrity. A combination of drugs for CMT1A polytherapy was chosen from a group of authorised drugs for unrelated diseases using a systems biology approach, followed by pharmacological safety considerations. Testing and proof of synergism of these drugs were performed in a co-culture model of DRG neurons and Schwann cells derived from a Pmp22 transgenic rat model of CMT1A. Their ability to lower Pmp22 mRNA in Schwann cells relative to house-keeping genes or to a second myelin transcript (Mpz) was assessed in a clonal cell line expressing these genes. Finally in vivo efficacy of the combination was tested in two models: CMT1A transgenic rats, and mice that recover from a nerve crush injury, a model to assess neuroprotection and regeneration. Combination of (RS)-baclofen, naltrexone hydrochloride and D-sorbitol, termed PXT3003, improved myelination in the Pmp22 transgenic co-culture cellular model, and moderately down-regulated Pmp22 mRNA expression in Schwannoma cells. In both in vitro systems, the combination of drugs was revealed to possess synergistic effects, which provided the rationale for in vivo clinical testing of rodent models. In Pmp22 transgenic CMT1A rats, PXT3003 down-regulated the Pmp22 to Mpz mRNA ratio, improved myelination of small fibres, increased nerve conduction and ameliorated the clinical phenotype. PXT3003 also improved axonal regeneration and remyelination in the murine nerve crush model. Based on these observations in preclinical models, a clinical trial of PTX3003 in CMT1A, a neglected orphan disease, is warranted. If the efficacy of PTX3003 is confirmed, rational polytherapy based on novel combinations of existing non-toxic drugs with pleiotropic effects may represent a promising approach for rapid drug development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13023-014-0201-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Systems Biology; Repurposing; Combination therapy; Baclofen; Naltrexone; Sorbitol; Synergy; CMT1A; Low dose
the neuropathological features of clinical syndromes associated with
tomacula or focal myelin swellings in sural nerve biospies and to
discuss possible common aetiopathological pathways leading to their
formation in this group of neuropathies.
patients with sural nerve biopsies reported to show tomacula or focal
myelin swellings were reviewed, light and electron microscopy were
performed, and tomacula were analysed on teased fibre studies.
Molecular genetic studies were performed on those patients who were
available for genetic testing.
patients were diagnosed with hereditary neuropathy with liability to
pressure palsies (HNPP), four with hereditary motor and sensory
neuropathy type I (HMSN I) or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1 (CMT1), four with HMSN with myelin outfolding (CMT4B), three with IgM
paraproteinemic neuropathy, three with chronic inflammatory
demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and one with HMSN III (CMT3).
these syndromes were shown to be related to genetic or immunological
defects of myelin components such as peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22), myelin protein zero (P0), or myelin associated glycoprotein
(MAG). These proteins share the HNK-1 epitope which has been implicated
in cell adhesion processes. Impaired myelin maintenance may therefore
contribute to the formation of tomacula and subsequent demyelination.
Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is a hereditary demyelinating neuropathy linked with duplication of the peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) gene. Transgenic C22 mice, a model of CMT1A, display many features of the human disease, including slowed nerve conduction velocity and demyelination of peripheral nerves. How overproduction of PMP22 leads to compromised myelin and axonal pathology is not fully understood, but likely involves subcellular alterations in protein homoeostatic mechanisms within affected Schwann cells. The subcellular response to abnormally localized PMP22 includes the recruitment of the ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS), autophagosomes and heat-shock proteins (HSPs). Here we assessed biochemical markers of these protein homoeostatic pathways in nerves from PMP22-overexpressing neuropathic mice between the ages of 2 and 12 months to ascertain their potential contribution to disease progression. In nerves of 3-week-old mice, using endoglycosidases and Western blotting, we found altered processing of the exogenous human PMP22, an abnormality that becomes more prevalent with age. Along with the ongoing accrual of misfolded PMP22, the activity of the proteasome becomes compromised and proteins required for autophagy induction and lysosome biogenesis are up-regulated. Moreover, cytosolic chaperones are consistently elevated in nerves from neuropathic mice, with the most prominent change in HSP70. The gradual alterations in protein homoeostatic response are accompanied by Schwann cell de-differentiation and macrophage infiltration. Together, these results show that while subcellular protein quality control mechanisms respond appropriately to the presence of the overproduced PMP22, with aging they are unable to prevent the accrual of misfolded proteins.
In peripheral nerves of neuropathic C22 mice the frequency of cytosolic PMP22 aggregates increases with age, which elicits a response from protein quality control mechanisms. The combined effects of aging and neuropathic genotype exacerbate disease progression leading to nerve defects.
autophagy; chaperone; ubiquitin; myelin; protein aggregation; Schwann cell.; AMC, amino-methyl coumarin; CathD, Cathepsin D; CMT1A, Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease type 1A; di-8-ANEPPS, 4-[2-(6-dibutylamino)-2-naphthalenyl)ethenyl]-1-(3-sulfopropyl) hydroxide; Egr2, early growth response 2; endoH, endoglycosidase H; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; HSF1, heat-shock factor 1; Hsp, heat-shock protein; IgG, immunoglobulin; LAMP1, lysosomal membrane-associated protein 1; LC3, light chain 3; MCP-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1; MS, multiple sclerosis; Oct6, octamer-binding transcription factor 6; PMP22, peripheral myelin protein 22; PNGaseF, N-glycosidase F; pUb, polyubiquitinated; TFEB, transcription factor EB; UPS, ubiquitin–proteasome system; Wt, wild-type
Myelin formation around axons increases nerve conduction velocity and regulates phenotypic characteristics of the myelinated axon. In the peripheral nervous system, demyelinating forms of hereditary Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) diseases, due to Schwann-cell intrinsic molecular defects, leads to reduced nerve conduction velocity and changes in the axonal phenotype. Several mouse models of CMT diseases have been generated, allowing the study of consequences of demyelination in peripheral nerve fibres. Nevertheless, the effect of demyelination at the level of the neuromuscular synapse has been largely overlooked. Here we show that in the periaxin knock-out mice, a model of CMT condition, neuromuscular junctions develop profound morphological changes in pre-terminal region of motoraxons. These changes include extensive preterminal branches which originate in demyelinated regions of the nerve fibre and axonal swellings associated with residually-myelinated regions of the fibre. Using intracellular recording from muscle fibres we detected asynchronous failure of action potential transmission at high but not low stimulation frequencies, a phenomenon consistent with branch point failure. Taken together, our morphological and electrophysiological findings suggest that preterminal branching due to segmental demyelination near the neuromuscular synapse in periaxin KO mice may underlie phenotypic disabilities present in this mouse model of CMT disease. These results opens a new avenue of research in order to understand the cellular changes responsible for clinical disabilities in demyelinating conditions.
Mutations in GDAP1, which encodes protein located in the mitochondrial outer membrane, cause axonal recessive (AR-CMT2), axonal dominant (CMT2K) and demyelinating recessive (CMT4A) forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy. Loss of function recessive mutations in GDAP1 are associated with decreased mitochondrial fission activity, while dominant mutations result in impairment of mitochondrial fusion with increased production of reactive oxygen species and susceptibility to apoptotic stimuli. GDAP1 silencing in vitro reduces Ca2+ inflow through store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) upon mobilization of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+, likely in association with an abnormal distribution of the mitochondrial network. To investigate the functional consequences of lack of GDAP1 in vivo, we generated a Gdap1 knockout mouse. The affected animals presented abnormal motor behavior starting at the age of 3 months. Electrophysiological and biochemical studies confirmed the axonal nature of the neuropathy whereas histopathological studies over time showed progressive loss of motor neurons (MNs) in the anterior horn of the spinal cord and defects in neuromuscular junctions. Analyses of cultured embryonic MNs and adult dorsal root ganglia neurons from affected animals demonstrated large and defective mitochondria, changes in the ER cisternae, reduced acetylation of cytoskeletal α-tubulin and increased autophagy vesicles. Importantly, MNs showed reduced cytosolic calcium and SOCE response. The development and characterization of the GDAP1 neuropathy mice model thus revealed that some of the pathophysiological changes present in axonal recessive form of the GDAP1-related CMT might be the consequence of changes in the mitochondrial network biology and mitochondria–endoplasmic reticulum interaction leading to abnormalities in calcium homeostasis.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited motor and sensory peripheral neuropathy. Mutations in the GDAP1 gene cause either an axonapathy or an myelinopathy that can be transmitted recessively or dominantly to offspring. GDAP1 is located in the mitochondrial outer membrane and seems to participate in the mitochondrial network dynamics. To investigate the biological and functional consequences of lack of GDAP1 and to gain insight into the pathophysiology of the GDAP1-related neuropathies we have generated a Gdap1 knockout mouse. Characterization of this model revealed that the absence of GDAP1 induces a peripheral neuropathy with loss of motor neurons and abnormal neuromuscular junctions. We also observed defects in embryonic motor neurons and adult dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons derived from affected animals. Specifically, cultured motor neurons showed large and abnormal mitochondria, dilated perinuclear space and endoplasmic reticulum, changes in acetylation of cytoskeletal α-tubulin and calcium depletion. We propose that pathophysiology of GDAP1-associated recessive CMT neuropathy may be the consequence of abnormal calcium homeostasis and changes in the mitochondrial network biology and mitochondria–endoplasmic reticulum interactions. Our findings may be also relevant to understand the role of GDAP1 in relation to other neuropathy-related mitochondrial proteins such as mitofusin 2.
This study determines the impact of symptoms associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease on quality-of-life. Charcot-Marie-Tooth patients in the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network Contact Registry were surveyed. The survey inquired about 214 symptoms and 20 themes previously identified as important to Charcot-Marie-Tooth patients through patient interviews. Symptom population impact was calculated as the prevalence multiplied by the relative importance of each symptom identified. Prevalence and symptom impact were analyzed by age, symptom duration, gender, Charcot-Marie-Tooth type, and employment status. 407 respondents identified foot and ankle weakness (99.7%) and impaired balance (98.6%) as the most prevalent themes. Foot and ankle weakness and limitations with mobility were the themes with the highest impact. Both symptom prevalence and impact gradually increased with age and symptom duration. Several themes were more prevalent in women with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, including activity limitations, pain, fatigue, hip-thigh weakness, and gastrointestinal issues. All of the themes, except emotional or body image issues, were more prevalent among unemployed individuals. There were minimal differences in symptom prevalence between Charcot-Marie-Tooth types. There are multiple symptoms that impact Charcot-Marie-Tooth quality-of-life in adults. These symptoms have different levels of importance, are readily recognized by patients, and represent critical areas of Charcot-Marie-Tooth health.
Charcot Marie Tooth disease; quality of life; patient reported outcomes; peripheral neuropathy
Mitofusin 2 (MFN2) is a mitochondrial membrane protein mediating mitochondrial fusion and function. Mutated MFN2 is responsible for Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2A2. In small kindreds, specific MFN2 mutations have been reported to associate with severity of axonal neuropathy, optic atrophy, and involvement of the central nervous system. The results of the nerve biopsy specimens suggested that the mitochondria are structurally abnormal in patients with MFN2 mutations.
To study a newly identified MFN2 mutation, Leu146Phe, and the associated phenotypes in a large kindred.
An American kindred of Northern European and Cherokee American Indian descent.
Genetic analysis revealed a novel GTPase domain MFN2 mutation Leu146Phe that associated with clinical status of 15 studied persons (10 affected and 5 unaffected) and not found in 800 control persons. Clinical manifestations were markedly different. In 1 affected person, optic atrophy and brain magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities led to multiple sclerosis diagnosis and interferon β-1a treatment when neuropathy was initially unrecognized. Age of onset ranged from 1 to 45 years. In some affected family members, severe and rapid-onset motor sensory neuropathy led to early loss of ambulation, whereas other family members experienced minimal neuropathic sensory symptoms. Despite histologically significant loss of nerve fibers, the mitochondria were not distinguishable from diseased sural nerve biopsy specimens and healthy controls.
Novel MFN2 mutation Leu146Phe causes Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2A2. Intrafamilial clinical phenotype variability is emphasized and has important implications in genetic counseling. The clinical phenotype may mimic multiple sclerosis when optic atrophy and the characteristic brain lesions of MFN2 on magnetic resonance imaging are present and neuropathy is mild or unrecognized. The predicted molecular pathogenesis may occur without evident histological abnormalities of mitochondria in nerve.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is a hereditary demyelinating peripheral neuropathy caused by the duplication of the PMP22 gene. Demyelination precedes the occurrence of clinical symptoms that correlate with axonal degeneration. It was postulated that a disturbed axon-glia interface contribute to altered myelination consequently leading to axonal degeneration. In this study, we examined the expression of MAG and Necl4, two critical adhesion molecules that are present at the axon-glia interface, in sural nerve biopsies of CMT1A patients and in peripheral nerves of mice overexpressing human PMP22, an animal model for CMT1A. We show an increase in the expression of MAG and a strong decrease of Necl4 in biopsies of CMT1A patients as well as in CMT1A mice. Expression analysis revealed that MAG is strongly upregulated during peripheral nerve maturation, whereas Necl4 expression remains very low. Ablating MAG in CMT1A mice results in separation of axons from their myelin sheath. Our data show that MAG is important for axon-glia contact in a model for CMT1A, and suggest that its increased expression in CMT1A disease has a compensatory role in the pathology of the disease. Thus, we demonstrate that MAG together with other adhesion molecules such as Necl4 is important in sustaining axonal integrity.
Myelin associated protein (MAG); Nectin-like protein (Necl4); peripheral neuropathy; CMT1A; axonal pathology
The X-linked form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X) is the second most common form of hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. The clinical phenotype is characterized by progressive muscle atrophy and weakness, areflexia, and variable sensory abnormalities; central nervous system manifestations occur, too. Affected males have moderate to severe symptoms, whereas heterozygous females are usually less affected. Neurophysiology shows intermediate slowing of conduction and distal axonal loss. Nerve biopsies show more prominent axonal degeneration than de/remyelination. More than 400 different mutations in GJB1, the gene that encodes the gap junction (GJ) protein connexin32 (Cx32), cause CMT1X. Many Cx32 mutants fail to form functional GJs, or form GJs with abnormal biophysical properties. Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes express Cx32, and the GJs formed by Cx32 play an important role in the homeostasis of myelinated axons. Animal models of CMT1X demonstrate that loss of Cx32 in myelinating Schwann cells causes a demyelinating neuropathy. An effective therapy remains to be developed.
CMT; connexin32; gap junctions; myelin; neuropathy; oligodendrocytes; Schwann cells
To identify the disease-causing gene responsible for an autosomal dominantly inherited Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathy subtype in a family excluded for mutations in the common Charcot–Marie–Tooth genes, we used array-based sequence capture to simultaneously analyse the disease-linked protein coding exome at chromosome 14q32. A missense mutation in fibulin-5, encoding a widely expressed constituent of the extracellular matrix that has an essential role in elastic fibre assembly and has been shown to cause cutis laxa, was detected as the only novel non-synonymous sequence variant within the disease interval. Screening of 112 index probands with unclassified Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathies detected two further fibulin-5 missense mutations in two families with Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease and hyperextensible skin. Since fibulin-5 mutations have been described in patients with age-related macular degeneration, an additional 300 probands with exudative age-related macular degeneration were included in this study. Two further fibulin-5 missense mutations were identified in six patients. A mild to severe peripheral neuropathy was detected in the majority of patients with age-related macular degeneration carrying mutations in fibulin-5. This study identifies fibulin-5 as a gene involved in Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathies and reveals heterozygous fibulin-5 mutations in 2% of our patients with age-related macular degeneration. Furthermore, it adumbrates a new syndrome by linking concurrent pathologic alterations affecting peripheral nerves, eyes and skin to mutations in the fibulin-5 gene.
age-related macular degeneration; CMT; cutis laxa; fibulin-5; neuropathy
We have shown that health-related quality of life (QOL) in children with inherited neuropathies (Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease [CMT]) is significantly reduced compared to population norms, thus establishing its utility as an outcome measure in therapeutic trials. However, the Australian ascorbic acid trial in children with CMT type 1A (CMT1A) identified no change in QOL scores despite a trend toward improvement in nerve conduction velocities in the treated group. The objective of this study was to identify clinical, electrophysiologic, and functional correlates of QOL in children with CMT1A, to guide future investigations of strategies to improve QOL and reduce disability in these patients.
In this cross-sectional study, a series of multivariate regression models were developed to determine whether QOL scores could be explained by demographic and symptom data, standardized measures of gross motor function, foot/ankle and hand/finger involvement, electrophysiology, and gait characteristics in 70 children aged 5–16 years with CMT1A.
Independent determinants of reduced QOL in children with CMT1A, from strongest to weakest, were leg cramps, hand tremor, short step length, reduced long jump distance, ankle inflexibility, poor agility and endurance, advancing age, and foot drop. Many of the standardized clinical and electrophysiologic measures used as endpoints in clinical trials of CMT correlated poorly with QOL.
QOL is negatively affected by CMT1A in children. Multivariate modeling suggests that interventions designed to improve leg cramps, tremor, agility, endurance, and ankle flexibility might have a substantial effect on QOL in children with CMT1A.
= body mass index;
= Child Health Questionnaire;
= compound muscle action potential;
= Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease;
= Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A;
= quality of life.