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OBJECTIVES: Hereditary sensory neuropathy type 1 (HSN1) is a rare, slowly progressive neuropathy causing profound sensory deficits and often severe motor loss. L-serine supplementation is a possible candidate therapy but the lack of responsive outcome measures is a barrier for undertaking clinical trials in HSN1. We performed a 12-month natural history study to characterise the phenotype of HSN1 and to identify responsive outcome measures. METHODS: Assessments included Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy Score version 2 (CMTNSv2), CMTNSv2-Rasch modified, nerve conduction studies, quantitative sensory testing, intraepidermal nerve fibre density (thigh), computerised myometry (lower limbs), plasma 1-deoxysphingolipid levels, calf-level intramuscular fat accumulation by MRI and patient-based questionnaires (Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory and 36-Short Form Health Survey version 2 [SF-36v2]). RESULTS: 35 patients with HSN1 were recruited. There was marked heterogeneity in the phenotype mainly due to differences between the sexes: males generally more severely affected. The outcome measures that significantly changed over 1 year and correlated with CMTNSv2, SF-36v2-physical component and disease duration were MRI determined calf intramuscular fat accumulation (mean change in overall calf fat fraction 2.36%, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.55, p=0.0004), pressure pain threshold on the hand (mean change 40 kPa, 95% CI 0.7 to 80, p=0.046) and myometric measurements of ankle plantar flexion (median change -0.5 Nm, IQR -9.5 to 0, p=0.0007), ankle inversion (mean change -0.89 Nm, 95% CI -1.66 to -0.12, p=0.03) and eversion (mean change -1.61 Nm, 95% CI -2.72 to -0.51, p=0.006). Intramuscular calf fat fraction was the most responsive outcome measure. CONCLUSION: MRI determined calf muscle fat fraction shows validity and high responsiveness over 12 months and will be useful in HSN1 clinical trials.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





895 - 906


Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuroimmunology, neuromuscular, neurophysiol, clinical