A clinical case–control comparison of epidermal innervation density in Rett syndrome

Frank J. Symons, Chantel C. Barney, Breanne J. Byiers, Brian D. McAdams, Shawn X.Y.L. Foster, Timothy J. Feyma, Gwen Wendelschafer-Crabb, William R. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Rett syndrome (RTT), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder occurring primarily in females (1:10–15,000 female live births), is most often caused by loss-of-function mutations in the X-linked methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 gene (MECP2). Clinical observations and preclinical findings indicate apparent abnormal sensory and nociceptive function. There have been no direct investigations of epidermal sensory innervation in patients with RTT. Methods: We compared 3 mm epidermal punch biopsy specimens from adolescent female RTT patients (N = 4, aged 12–19 years) against an archived approximate age-, sex-, body-site matched comparison sample of healthy adolescent females (N = 8, ages 11–17). Results: Confocal imaging revealed, on average, statistically significant increased epidermal nerve fiber (ENF) peptidergic (co-stained calcitonin gene-related protein [CGRP]) innervation density compared with healthy female control individuals. Conclusions: Given the clinical phenotype of disrupted sensory function along with diagnostic criteria specific to cold hands/feet and insensitivity to pain, our preliminary observations of ENF peptidergic fiber density differences warrants further investigation of the peripheral neurobiology in RTT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01285
JournalBrain and Behavior
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study funded, in part, by Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Grant No: 44763 and the Mayday Foundation. The funders had no involve‐ ment in the study design, data collection, data analysis, or manu‐ script preparation.

Funding Information:
This study funded, in part, by Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Grant No: 44763 and the Mayday Foundation. The funders had no involvement in the study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords

  • MECP2
  • Rett syndrome
  • epidermal nerve fiber innervation
  • sensory phenotype

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