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Polyneuropathy in cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis and response to treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid

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Abstract

Polyneuropathy has been reported in cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), although its nature and possible association with certain genotypes and phenotypes are unclear. The effect of chronic administration of chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) on peripheral nerve conduction parameters is still debated. We report clinical, laboratory, and electrophysiological findings in 35 CTX patients. Twenty-six subjects (74.2 %) showed peripheral nerve abnormalities. Polyneuropathy was predominantly axonal (76.9 % of patients) and generally mild. No correlation was found between its presence and clinical or biochemical data. In polyneuropathic patients, CDCA treatment improved electrophysiological conduction parameters, irrespective of the duration of therapy. Improvement mainly concerned nerve conduction velocities, whereas most nerve amplitudes remained unchanged. This means that CDCA treatment did not influence the number of axons activated by maximum electrical stimulation but increased the conduction of the still-excitable fibers. Our findings may suggest that CDCA treatment promotes myelin synthesis in nerve fibers with residual unaffected axons. The effect of therapy may therefore depend largely on the extent of irreversible structural damage to axons.

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Conflicts of interest

All the authors exclude actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal, or other relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence work.

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This study has been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and has therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.

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Correspondence to M. T. Dotti.

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Ginanneschi, F., Mignarri, A., Mondelli, M. et al. Polyneuropathy in cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis and response to treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid. J Neurol 260, 268–274 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-012-6630-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-012-6630-3

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