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Inherited neuropathies with predominant upper limb involvement: genetic heterogeneity and overlapping pathologies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Roger Whittaker, Dr Richard Charlton, Dr Rita Barresi, Professor Hanns Lochmuller, Professor Rita HorvathORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020 The Authors. European Journal of Neurology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Neurology. Background and purpose: In a subset of patients with inherited peripheral neuropathies the first symptom is atrophy and weakness of the intrinsic muscles of the hands, without involvement of lower limbs until later in the disease course. The exact pathomechanisms of this phenotype are currently unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize the clinical, neurophysiological and genetic features of a group of patients with a clinical diagnosis of upper limb predominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). Methods: The clinical, electrophysiology and genetic data of 11 patients with upper limb predominant peripheral neuropathy selected from a single-centre cohort of 461 patients diagnosed with inherited neuropathy were analysed and the clinical, electrophysiological and genetic characteristics of these patients reported. Results: An overlapping phenotype of neuropathy and myopathy was detected in two patients. Four patients carry autosomal dominant mutations in GARS and a single patient had a homozygous mutation in SH3TC2. However, the underlying genetic diagnosis could not be confirmed in six patients by gene panel sequencing. Conclusions: Upper limb-onset inherited neuropathies are genetically heterogeneous and, in some cases, there is an overlapping myopathy. Autosomal dominant GARS mutations are the most common genetic cause; however, mutations in other CMT genes may also result in this phenotype in individual patients. The majority of these patients cannot be genetically diagnosed by gene panel testing of known CMT and myopathy genes, suggesting further genetic heterogeneity and highlighting the importance of further genetic investigations in these patients and families.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McMacken G, Whittaker RG, Charlton R, Barresi R, Lochmuller H, Horvath R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Neurology

Year: 2020

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 297-304

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 09/09/2020

Acceptance date: 26/08/2020

Date deposited: 04/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1351-5101

ISSN (electronic): 1468-1331

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/ene.14514

PubMed id: 32909314


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Funder referenceFunder name
201064/Z/16/ZWellcome Trust
109915/Z/15/ZWellcome Trust
CFI-JELF 38412
MR/N025431/1Medical Research Council (MRC)
MR/N027302/1Medical Research Council (MRC)