Peripheral nerve involvement in MS

Warabi Y, Yamazaki M, Shimizu T, Nagao M. Abnormal nerve conduction study findings indicating the existence of peripheral neuropathy in multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:847670.

Objective. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) has been reported in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, there have been limited reports of peripheral neuropathy as a complication of neuromyelitis optica (NMO). In this paper, we showed the characteristics and differences between peripheral neuropathy as a complication of MS and NMO. Method. We analyzed a series of 58 MS and 28 NMO patients and evaluated nerve conduction studies (NCS) in 21 MS and 5 NMO patients. Results. Six of the 58 MS and 3 of the 28 NMO patients revealed abnormal NCS findings. Three (5.2%) of the 58 MS patients fulfilled the criteria for CIDP. One (3.6%) of the 28 NMO patients showed peripheral neuropathy at the same time of NMO relapse, although CIDP was not seen in NMO. The other 5 (3 MS and 2 NMO) patients were complicated with neuropathy caused by concomitant diabetes mellitus and Sjögren's syndrome. Conclusion. Frequency of abnormal NCS findings might exhibit no significant difference between MS and NMO, although the cause and pathophysiology of peripheral neuropathy were different in MS and in NMO. There might be a group of NMO who were affected simultaneously in the central and peripheral nervous tissues.

For many we are lead to believe that MS is a CNS disease, here it shows that there can be peripheral nerve abnormalities. Is this a consequence of CNS problems or a primary issue. Some of the antigens in the CNS are present in the Peripheral nervous system also e.g. myelin basic protein and myelin associated glycoprotein. In EAE in rabbit there can be quite a lot of peripheral nerve involvement. Whilst a minor component in MS, peripheral nerve issues needs to be built into the big picture.

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