Peripheral sensory abnormalities in patients with multiple sclerosis

Authors

  • Dr. Jeremy M. Shefner MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Neurophysiology Laboratories, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Neurophysiology Laboratories, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Dr. Jonathan L. Carter MD,

    1. Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
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  • Dr. Christian Krarup MD, PhD

    1. Laboratory of Clinical Neurophysiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
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Abstract

Although multiple sclerosis primarily affects myelin within the central nervous system, both pathologic and physiological studies suggest that mild deficits in peripheral nervous system myelin may be common. To evaluate this question further, we performed near nerve studies on sural nerves of 14 patients with multiple sclerosis. Peak-to-peak amplitude and maximum conduction velocity were normal in 9 of 14 patients, while minimum conduction velocity, or the velocity of the slowest-conducting component of the sensory action potential, was abnormally reduced in 9 patients. In addition, the supernormal period was evaluated for patients and compared with a control sample; multiple sclerosis patients showed a significant reduction in the amplitude of supernormality. Both the reduction in minimum conduction velocity and the alteration in the supernormal period are consistent with a mild defect in peripheral myelin.

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