Studies of mutation may lead to better understanding of septin proteins, fillaments that play a role in cell structure and division
In a significant advance toward understanding a perplexing and painful neurological disorder, an international team of researchers has discovered gene mutations associated with an inherited chronic pain and weakness syndrome known as hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (also called HNA). No treatment is known for this disabling condition, which short-circuits a peripheral nerve center called the brachial plexus, a network of over 100,000 nerves, that branches from the spinal cord to supply muscular function and sensation to the shoulders, arms, and hands.
HNA may first appear in the childhood or teen years, and lead to recurring episodes of severe, sudden onset pain in the arms and shoulders as well as weakness, loss of sensation, and muscle wasting. Episodes are often triggered by an infection, an immunization, childbirth, or overworking the arms and shoulders. Nerve inflammation and changes in the blood suggest that problems with the persons immune response are contributing to the episode. The on again/off again course of the condition, and the environmental triggers, are unusual among inherited nerve disorders.
Leila Gray | EurekAlert!
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