A Career Perspective on the Discipline of Neurochemistry
- George H. DeVries
- Neurochemical Research
L-Periaxin is a PDZ-domain protein localized to the plasma membrane of myelinating Schwann cells and plays a key role in the stabilization of mature myelin in peripheral nerves. Mutations in L-periaxin have recently been described in some patients with demyelinating peripheral neuropathy, suggesting that disruption of L-periaxin function may result in nerve injury. In this study, we report the presence of autoantibodies to L-periaxin in sera from two of 12 patients with diabetes mellitus (type 2)-associated neuropathy and three of 17 patients with IgG monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) neuropathy, an autoimmune peripheral nerve disorder. By comparison, anti-L-periaxin antibodies were not present in sera from nine patients with IgM MGUS neuropathy or in sera from 10 healthy control subjects. The effect of anti-L-periaxin serum antibody on peripheral nerve function was tested in vivo by intraneural injection. Sera containing anti-L-periaxin antibody, but not sera from age-matched control subjects, injected into the endoneurium of rat sciatic nerve significantly (p < 0.005, n = 3) attenuated sensory-evoked compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes in the absence of temporal dispersion. In contrast, motor-evoked CMAP amplitudes and latencies were not affected by intraneural injection of sera containing anti-L-periaxin antibody. Light and electron microscopy of anti-L-periaxin serum-injected nerves showed morphologic evidence of demyelination and axon enlargement. Depleting sera of anti-L-periaxin antibodies neutralized the serum-mediated effects on nerve function and nerve morphology. Together, these data support anti-L-periaxin antibody as the pathologic agent in these serum samples. We suggest that anti-L-periaxin antibodies, when present in sera of patients with IgG MGUS- or diabetes-associated peripheral neuropathy, may elicit sensory nerve conduction deficits.