OBJECTIVE--Adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) is an X linked metabolic disorder presenting with progressive spastic paraparesis in the third to fifth decade of life. Although peripheral neuropathy is also present in most patients, prominent pyramidal signs may make its clinical recognition difficult. The objective was to characterise the peripheral neuropathy in patients with AMN by nerve conduction studies. METHODS--Nerve conduction studies were performed in 99 men known to have AMN and in 38 heterozygous women, all of whom had neurological disabilities. RESULTS--Of the 13 variables obtained, at least one was abnormal in 82% of patients. The abnormalities were more common in men than in women (87% v 67%); in legs than in arms (77% v 38%); in motor than in sensory conduction (80% v 39%); and in latency (distal and F wave) and velocity compared with amplitude (80% v 29%). Twenty six patients had at least one nerve variable value in the demyelinating range. Four variables (sural velocity, peroneal amplitude, peroneal velocity, and peroneal F wave) were correlated with the expanded disability status scale; five variables (peroneal velocity, tibial H reflex, median distal latency, median conduction velocity, and median F wave latency) were correlated with serum very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs); and two variables (sural amplitude and peroneal distal latency) were more likely to be abnormal in patients with normal adrenal function than in patients with Addison's disease. CONCLUSIONS--Nerve conduction studies in patients with AMN are often abnormal and suggest a mixture of axonal loss and multifocal demyelination. Their correlation with disability status and serum VLCFAs suggests that measures from nerve conduction studies may be useful in evaluating future treatments.
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