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1.  Shortened internodal length of dermal myelinated nerve fibres in Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A 
Brain  2009;132(12):3263-3273.
Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A is the most common inherited neuropathy and is caused by duplication of chromosome 17p11.2 containing the peripheral myelin protein-22 gene. This disease is characterized by uniform slowing of conduction velocities and secondary axonal loss, which are in contrast with non-uniform slowing of conduction velocities in acquired demyelinating disorders, such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. Mechanisms responsible for the slowed conduction velocities and axonal loss in Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A are poorly understood, in part because of the difficulty in obtaining nerve samples from patients, due to the invasive nature of nerve biopsies. We have utilized glabrous skin biopsies, a minimally invasive procedure, to evaluate these issues systematically in patients with Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (n = 32), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (n = 4) and healthy controls (n = 12). Morphology and molecular architecture of dermal myelinated nerve fibres were examined using immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Internodal length was uniformly shortened in patients with Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A, compared with those in normal controls (P < 0.0001). Segmental demyelination was absent in the Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A group, but identifiable in all patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. Axonal loss was measurable using the density of Meissner corpuscles and associated with an accumulation of intra-axonal mitochondria. Our study demonstrates that skin biopsy can reveal pathological and molecular architectural changes that distinguish inherited from acquired demyelinating neuropathies. Uniformly shortened internodal length in Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A suggests a potential developmental defect of internodal lengthening. Intra-axonal accumulation of mitochondria provides new insights into the pathogenesis of axonal degeneration in Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease type 1A.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp274
PMCID: PMC2800385  PMID: 19923170
CMT1A; internodal length; Schwann cell; skin biopsy; Charcot–Marie-Tooth disease
2.  PMP22 expression in dermal nerve myelin from patients with CMT1A 
Brain  2009;132(7):1734-1740.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is caused by a 1.4 Mb duplication on chromosome 17p11.2, which contains the peripheral myelin protein-22 (PMP22) gene. Increased levels of PMP22 in compact myelin of peripheral nerves have been demonstrated and presumed to cause the phenotype of CMT1A. The objective of the present study was to determine whether an extra copy of the PMP22 gene in CMT1A disrupts the normally coordinated expression of PMP22 protein in peripheral nerve myelin and to evaluate PMP22 over-expression in patients with CMT1A and determine whether levels of PMP22 are molecular markers of disease severity. PMP22 expression was measured by taking skin biopsies from patients with CMT1A (n = 20) and both healthy controls (n = 7) and patients with Hereditary Neuropathy with liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP) (n = 6), in which patients have only a single copy of PMP22. Immunological electron microscopy was performed on the skin biopsies to quantify PMP22 expression in compact myelin. Similar biopsies were analysed by real time PCR to measure PMP22 mRNA levels. Results were also correlated with impairment in CMT1A, as measured by the validated CMT Neuropathy Score. Most, but not all patients with CMT1A, had elevated PMP22 levels in myelin compared with the controls. The levels of PMP22 in CMT1A were highly variable, but not in HNPP or the controls. However, there was no correlation between neurological disabilities and the level of over-expression of PMP22 protein or mRNA in patients with CMT1A. The extra copy of PMP22 in CMT1A results in disruption of the tightly regulated expression of PMP22. Thus, variability of PMP22 levels, rather than absolute level of PMP22, may play an important role in the pathogenesis of CMT1A.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp113
PMCID: PMC2724915  PMID: 19447823
PMP22; CMT1A; CMTNS; HNPP; Schwann cell; myelin; Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Results 1-2 (2)