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Brain Res. 2012 Dec 3;1487:198-205. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.03.068. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

How do mutations in GJB1 cause X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?

Author information

1
Neurology Clinics and Neuroscience Laboratory, The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Abstract

The X-linked form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X) is the second most common form of hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. The clinical phenotype is characterized by progressive weakness, atrophy, and sensory abnormalities that are most pronounced in the distal extremities. Some patients have CNS manifestations. Affected males have moderate to severe symptoms, whereas heterozygous females are usually less affected. Neurophysiology shows intermediate slowing of conduction and length-dependent axonal loss. Nerve biopsies show more prominent axonal degeneration than de/remyelination. Mutations in GJB1, the gene that encodes the gap junction (GJ) protein connexin32 (Cx32) cause CMT1X; more than 400 different mutations have been described. Many Cx32 mutants fail to form functional GJs, or form GJs with abnormal biophysical properties. Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes express Cx32, and the GJs formed by Cx32 play an important role in the homeostasis of myelinated axons. Animal models of CMT1X demonstrate that loss of Cx32 in myelinating Schwann cells causes a demyelinating neuropathy. Effective therapies remain to be developed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Electrical Synapses.

PMID:
22771394
PMCID:
PMC3488165
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2012.03.068
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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