GTR Home > Conditions/Phenotypes > Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, axonal, with vocal cord paresis, autosomal recessive


Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of progressive disorders that affect the peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves connect the brain and spinal cord to muscles and to sensory cells that detect sensations such as touch, pain, heat, and sound. Damage to the peripheral nerves can result in loss of sensation and wasting (atrophy) of muscles in the feet, legs, and hands.Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease usually becomes apparent in adolescence or early adulthood, but onset may occur anytime from early childhood through late adulthood. Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease vary in severity, even among members of the same family. Some people never realize they have the disorder, but most have a moderate amount of physical disability. A small percentage of people experience severe weakness or other problems which, in rare cases, can be life-threatening. In most affected individuals, however, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease does not affect life expectancy.Typically, the earliest symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease involve balance difficulties, ... clumsiness, and muscle weakness in the feet. Affected individuals may have foot abnormalities such as high arches (pes cavus), flat feet (pes planus), or curled toes (hammer toes). They often have difficulty flexing the foot or walking on the heel of the foot. These difficulties may cause a higher than normal step (or gait) and increase the risk of ankle injuries and tripping.As the disease progresses, muscles in the lower legs usually weaken, but leg and foot problems rarely require the use of a wheelchair. Affected individuals may also develop weakness in the hands, causing difficulty with daily activities such as writing, fastening buttons, and turning doorknobs. People with this disorder typically experience a decreased sensitivity to touch, heat, and cold in the feet and lower legs, but occasionally feel aching or burning sensations. In some cases, affected individuals experience gradual hearing loss, deafness, or loss of vision.There are several types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Type 1 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1) is characterized by abnormalities in myelin, the fatty substance that covers nerve cells, protecting them and helping to conduct nerve impulses. These abnormalities slow the transmission of nerve impulses. Type 2 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT2) is characterized by abnormalities in the fiber, or axon, that extends from a nerve cell body and transmits nerve impulses. These abnormalities reduce the strength of the nerve impulse. Type 4 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT4) affects either the axon or myelin and is distinguished from the other types by its pattern of inheritance. In intermediate forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the nerve impulses are both slowed and reduced in strength, probably due to abnormalities in both axons and myelin. Type X Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMTX) is caused by mutations in a gene on the X chromosome, one of the two sex chromosomes. Within the various types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, subtypes (such as CMT1A, CMT1B, CMT2A, CMT4A, and CMTX1) are distinguished by the specific gene that is altered.Sometimes other, more historical names are used to describe this disorder. For example, Roussy-Levy syndrome is a form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease defined by the additional feature of rhythmic shaking (tremors). Dejerine-Sottas syndrome is a term sometimes used to describe a severe, early childhood form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; it is also sometimes called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 3 (CMT3). Depending on the specific gene that is altered, this severe, early onset form of the disorder may also be classified as CMT1 or CMT4. CMTX5 is also known as Rosenberg-Chutorian syndrome. Some researchers believe that this condition is not actually a form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Instead, they classify it as a separate disorder characterized by peripheral nerve problems, deafness, and vision loss. [from GHR] more

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