OBJECTIVE: To report 4 cases of autosomal recessive hereditary neuropathy associated with novel mutations in the periaxin gene (PRX) with a review of the literature. Periaxin protein is required for the maintenance of peripheral nerve myelin. Patients with PRX mutations have early-onset autosomal recessive demyelinating Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT4F) or Déjèrine-Sottas neuropathy (DSN). Only 12 different mutations have been described thus far. METHODS: Case reports and literature review. RESULTS: Four patients from 3 unrelated families (2 siblings and 2 unrelated patients) were affected by an early-onset, slowly progressive demyelinating neuropathy with relevant sensory involvement. All carried novel frameshift or nonsense mutations in the PRX gene. The 2 siblings were compound heterozygotes for 2 PRX null mutations (p.Q547X and p.K808SfsX2), the third patient harbored a homozygous nonsense mutation (p.E682X), and the last patient had a homozygous 2-nt insertion predicting a premature protein truncation (p.S259PfsX55). Electrophysiologic analysis showed a severe slowing of motor nerve conduction velocities (MNCVs, between 3 and 15.3 m/s) with undetectable sensory nerve action potentials (SNAPs). Sural nerve biopsy, performed in 2 patients, demonstrated a severe demyelinating neuropathy and onion bulb formations. Interestingly, we observed some variability of disease severity within the same family. CONCLUSIONS: These cases and review of the literature indicate that PRX-related neuropathies have early onset but overall slow progression. Typical features are prominent sensory involvement, often with sensory ataxia; a moderate-to-dramatic reduction of MNCVs and almost invariable absence of SNAPs; and pathologic demyelination with classic onion bulbs, and less commonly myelin folding and basal lamina onion bulbs.
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