Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies: Understanding molecular pathogenesis could lead to future treatment strategies

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Apr;1852(4):667-78. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.07.031. Epub 2014 Aug 6.


Inherited peripheral neuropathies, like many other degenerative disorders, have been challenging to treat. At this point, there is little specific therapy for the inherited neuropathies other than genetic counseling as well as symptomatic treatment and rehabilitation. In the past, ascorbic acid, progesterone antagonists, and subcutaneous neurotrophin-3 (NT3) injections have demonstrated improvement in animal models of CMT 1A, the most common inherited neuropathy, but have failed to translate any effect in humans. Given the difficulty in treatment, it is important to understand the molecular pathogenesis of hereditary neuropathies in order to strategize potential future therapies. The hereditary neuropathies are in an era of molecular insight and over the past 20 years, more than 78 subtypes of Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) have been identified and extensively studied to understand the biological pathways in greater detail. Next generation molecular sequencing has also improved the diagnosis as well as the understanding of CMT. A greater understanding of the molecular pathways will help pave the way to future therapeutics of CMT. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neuromuscular Diseases: Pathology and Molecular Pathogenesis.

Keywords: CMT; Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy; Molecular genetics; Molecular pathogenesis; Myelin; Neuromuscular disease therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / diagnosis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / genetics
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / metabolism
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / pathology
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies* / diagnosis
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies* / genetics
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies* / metabolism
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies* / pathology
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Motor Neuron Disease* / diagnosis
  • Motor Neuron Disease* / genetics
  • Motor Neuron Disease* / metabolism
  • Motor Neuron Disease* / pathology
  • Motor Neuron Disease* / therapy
  • Neurotrophin 3 / genetics
  • Neurotrophin 3 / metabolism


  • Neurotrophin 3