Experimental therapeutics in hereditary neuropathies: the past, the present, and the future

Neurotherapeutics. 2008 Oct;5(4):507-15. doi: 10.1016/j.nurt.2008.07.001.


Hereditary neuropathies represent approximately 40% of undiagnosed neuropathies in a tertiary clinic setting. The Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathies (CMT) are the most common. Mutations in more than 40 genes have been identified to date in CMT. Approximately 50% of CMT cases are accounted for by CMT type 1A, due to a duplication within the peripheral myelin protein 22 gene (PMP22). Mutations in the gap junction beta 1 gene (GJB1), the myelin protein zero gene (MPZ), and the mitofusin 2 gene (MFN2) account for a substantial proportion of other genetically definable CMT. Some 15% of demyelinating CMT and 70% of axonal CMT await genetic clarification. Other hereditary neuropathies include the hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies, the familial amyloid polyneuropathies, and multisystem disorders (e.g., lipid storage diseases and inherited ataxias) that have peripheral neuropathy as a major or minor component. This review surveys the challenges of developing effective therapies for hereditary neuropathies in terms of past, present, and future experimental therapeutics in CMT.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / history
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / economics
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / genetics
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / history
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / pathology
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / therapy*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans