Phenotypic correlations in a large single-center cohort of patients with BSCL2 nerve disorders: a clinical, neurophysiological and muscle magnetic resonance imaging study

Eur J Neurol. 2020 Aug;27(8):1364-1373. doi: 10.1111/ene.14272. Epub 2020 May 24.


Background and purpose: BSCL2 heterozygote mutations are a common cause of distal hereditary motor neuropathies (dHMNs). A series of BSCL2 patients is presented and clinical, neurophysiological and muscle magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings are correlated.

Methods: Twenty-six patients from five families carrying the p.N88S mutation were identified. Age of onset, clinical phenotype (dHMN, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, spastic paraplegia), physical examination, disability measured as a modified Rankin Scale score and neurophysiological findings were collected. A whole body muscle MRI had been performed in 18 patients. The pattern of muscle involvement on T1-weighted and short time inversion recovery sequences was analysed. Hierarchical analysis using heatmaps and an MRI Composite Score were generated. Statistical analysis was carried out with STATA SE v.15 (TX, USA).

Results: The mean age was 51.54 ± 19.94 years and 14 patients were men. dHMN was the most common phenotype (50%) and five patients (19.23%) showed no findings on examination. Disease onset was commonly in childhood and disability was low (modified Rankin Scale score 1.34 ± 1.13) although median time since onset of disease was 32 years (range 10-47). Charcot-Marie-Tooth-like patients were more disabled and disability correlated with age. On muscle MRI, thenar eminence, soleus and tibialis anterior were most frequently involved, irrespective of clinical phenotype. MRI Composite Score was strongly correlated with disability.

Conclusion: Patients with the p.N88S BSCL2 gene mutation are phenotypically variable, although dHMN is most frequent and generally slowly progressive. Muscle MRI pattern is consistent regardless of phenotype and correlates with disease severity, probably serving as a reliable outcome measure for future clinical trials.

Keywords: BSCL2; CMT; SPG; dHMN; hereditary motor neuropathies; muscle MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / genetics
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits / metabolism*
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype


  • BSCL2 protein, human
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits