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Early Electrophysiological Changes In Transgenic Rat Model Of Charcot-Marie-Tooth

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Recently, a reliable transgenic rat model of human Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 A has been developed. So far, neurophysiological studies have been performed only in advanced stages of rat disease. Moreover, axonal involvement, which is known to occur in human CMT1A, has never been observed in this rat model. Affected rats show overexpression of Peripheral Myelin Protein (PMP-22) and a peripheral hypomyelinating neuropathy. We perfomed an electrophysiological study in two heterozygous PMP-22 transgenic rats and in one normal control, matched for age (3 weeks) and weight (average: 60 g). Recordings were performed in vivo by stimulating the sciatic nerve at both sciatic notch and ankle sites and recording the Hoffman reflex and direct muscle responses (CMAP). The H-reflex related SNCV and MNCV were calculated by measuring the distance between the sciatic notch and the ankle sites and the respective latencies. The two transgenic rats showed different levels of PMP-22 overexpression, as judged by quantitative PCR. The rat with a lower PMP-22 gene level showed a 30% reduction of MNCV compared to the normal control, while SNCV was not reduced. The CMAP was sized approximately 45% of the normal rat while the ratio between H wave amplitude and CMAP was 30% of the normal, the H wave amplitude being more affected than the CMAP. The action potentials in the rat with a higher transgene level were not recordable. Our data demonstrate that slowing of MNCV is an early finding in the CMT1A rat model. The marked reduction of H wave amplitude in front of a normal SNCV suggests a possible early axonal damage of sensory fibers. The entity of electrophysiological compromission positively correlated with the number of copies for PMP-22 gene. All together these considerations prove the sensitivity of this method, however further studies are needed to confirm these results and to prove that this model may be suitable to investigate the effects of therapeutic approaches.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Dept. of Neurological Science and Vision, University of Genoa, Service of Clinical Pharmacology, IST Genoa

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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