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Neurol Sci. 2003 Jun;24(2):57-60.

Hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies: electrophysiological and genetic study of a family with carpal tunnel syndrome as only clinical manifestation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Legnago Hospital, Via Gianella 1, I-37045 Legnago (VR), Italy.


Hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by recurrent sensory or motor manifestations. The molecular basis of HNPP is a deletion on chromosome 17p11.2. We studied a family (father, 61 years; mother, 55 years; 6 children of mean age 25.3 years) showing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in 4 members (the parents and 2 sons). No one of them reported episodes of nerve palsy. In all the patients, except the mother and the younger son, electrophysiologic evaluation showed a sensorimotor polyneuropathy with delayed sensorimotor latencies. Genetic analysis was carried out in the parents and the eldest son. The 17p11.2 deletion was detected in the father and son, indicating paternal transmission of the disease. Clinical manifestations of HNPP may be atypical. Sometimes there is no history of acute nerve palsy, as in this family. For this reason, the frequence of HNPP might be underestimated. Electrophysiological examination is of great importance for the diagnosis of HNPP. Genetic analysis is a rapid and reliable diagnostic tool that can be combined with simplified electrophysiological examination, avoiding the need for nerve biopsy. In conclusion, the diagnosis of HNPP should be invoked in early onset entrapment neuropathies.

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