Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A: from typical to rare phenotypic and genotypic features

JAMA Neurol. 2014 Aug;71(8):1036-42. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.629.


Importance: Axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is genetically heterogeneous, with 11 genes identified. Axonal CMT has most frequently been associated with mutations in the MFN2 gene (CMT2A).

Objectives: To describe the clinical and molecular features of CMT2A, to delineate prognostic factors, to understand connections between a certain phenotype and more serious clinical consequences, and to identify interactions among the associated genes.

Evidence review: We describe the clinical, molecular, electrophysiological, and additional features of 43 patients with CMT2A. The degree of physical disability was determined by the CMT neuropathy score and adapted to the CMT neuropathy score gradient to evaluate the clinical course. We evaluated all data within the context of the most recent and important publications concerning this issue.

Findings: Twenty-five patients had early-onset CMT2A and severe functional disability, with 9 being wheelchair bound, and 18 had late-onset disease and a milder phenotype. Optic atrophy, vocal cord palsy, and auditory impairment were observed in 5, 6, and 2 patients, respectively. Among the 24 patients who underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the spinal cord, 6 had evidence of spinal atrophy with or without hydromyelia. In 1 patient, magnetic resonance imaging revealed hydrocephalus. Twenty different MFN2 mutations were identified, and 14 were considered new variants. Their transmission was predominantly autosomal dominant, with vertical transmission in 8 and de novo occurrence in 3. However, we also identified rare types of transmission, especially a germinal mosaicism and an autosomal recessive inheritance. One patient carried a rare variant in the GDAP1 gene and another in the OPA1 gene in association with MFN2 mutation.

Conclusions and relevance: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A associated with MFN2 mutations is clinically very heterogeneous. Ranging from a mild to a severe form, CMT2A exhibits various types of transmission. Optic atrophy and vocal cord palsy were observed in patients with severe disability and an early-onset form and also in patients with later onset. Hydromyelia and spinal cord atrophy support central nervous system involvement in CMT2A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Young Adult


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • MFN2 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Type 2A