Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP) is caused by a heterozygous deletion of peripheral myelin protein‐22 (PMP22) gene resulting in focal sensorimotor deficits. Our lab has identified a disruption of myelin junctions in excessively permeable myelin that impairs action potential propagation. This mechanism is expected to cause fatigue in patients with HNPP. Therefore, the objective was to characterize fatigue in patients with HNPP and determine the relationship of fatigue to nerve pathology, disability, and quality of life.
Nine females with HNPP participated in a single visit that included genotyping, nerve conduction studies, neurological exam, quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, and a physical therapy exam incorporating upper and lower extremity function and survey measures of fatigue. This visit was followed by 2 weeks of ecological momentary assessment (wrist‐worn device) that captured fatigue ratings five times per day.
Participants demonstrated mild neurological impairment (CMTNS: 5.7 ± 2.8), yet reported high fatigue levels (average fatigue intensity over 2 weeks: 5.9 out of 10). Higher fatigue levels were associated with poorer quality of life and more pain. Higher fatigue was associated with significantly greater distal nerve proton density changes on peripheral nerve MRI, which is in line with hyper‐permeable myelin in HNPP.
Fatigue is common and severe among patients with HNPP whose disabilities are minimal by conventional outcome measures. Therapeutic interventions targeting fatigue have the potential to improve quality of life and may serve as a robust outcome measure to show longitudinal changes for patients with HNPP.