Assessment of serum-mediated neurotoxicity in Navajo neuropathy

M. W. Lawlor, S. Holve, E. B. Stubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Navajo neuropathy is a unique sensorimotor neuropathy which is geographically restricted to Navajo children living on the Navajo Reservation. Affected patients present with weakness, loss of sensation in extremities, corneal ulcerations, and a high incidence of childhood infections. Metabolic complications, such as severe liver disease, may further contribute to peripheral nerve injury in affected patients. In this study, serum-mediated injury to rat peripheral nerve was critically assessed. Serum samples from affected Navajo patients were tested in vivo for effects on peripheral nerve function. Injection of serum from affected Navajo patients into rat sciatic nerve produced a modest slowing of nerve conduction velocity without effecting evoked-compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes. By comparison, injection of serum from patients with MGUS neuropathy, an immune-mediated disorder, diminished evoked-CMAP amplitudes by approximately 70%. Navajo neuropathy sera had no effect in vitro on the neurite outgrowth of developing dorsal root ganglia neurons. The results argue against serum-mediated toxic injury to peripheral nerves in Navajo neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-214
Number of pages4
JournalElectromyography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000


  • Intraneural injection
  • Liver
  • Navajo
  • Nerve
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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