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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Nov 20;109(47):19444-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216080109. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Gain-of-function Nav1.8 mutations in painful neuropathy.

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Department of Neurology, University Medical Centre Maastricht, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Painful peripheral neuropathy often occurs without apparent underlying cause. Gain-of-function variants of sodium channel Na(v)1.7 have recently been found in ∼30% of cases of idiopathic painful small-fiber neuropathy. Here, we describe mutations in Na(v)1.8, another sodium channel that is specifically expressed in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and peripheral nerve axons, in patients with painful neuropathy. Seven Na(v)1.8 mutations were identified in 9 subjects within a series of 104 patients with painful predominantly small-fiber neuropathy. Three mutations met criteria for potential pathogenicity based on predictive algorithms and were assessed by voltage and current clamp. Functional profiling showed that two of these three Na(v)1.8 mutations enhance the channel's response to depolarization and produce hyperexcitability in DRG neurons. These observations suggest that mutations of Na(v)1.8 contribute to painful peripheral neuropathy.

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