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Methodological aspects and usefulness of Quantitative Sensory Testing in early small fiber polyneuropathy: a clinical study in Swedish hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis patients
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, Clinical Neurophysiology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Medicine.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Generalised polyneuropathy (PNP) is a common cause to neurological impairment, and may be an early symptom of a severe systemic disease. One such illness is hereditary transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis (ATTR), a progressive fatal disorder caused by a mutation on the TTR gene. More than 100 such mutations have been found worldwide, of which Val30Met is the most common neuropathic variant with initial clinical manifestations indicating small fiber impairment. Differences in onset age, penetrance and phenotypes are present between endemic areas. Liver transplantation generally slows the progress of the symptom development, especially in patients with short disease duration. Ongoing research has also shown promising results with drug interventions. In any event, early diagnosis of PNP onset in ATTR patients is crucial to ensure early therapeutic interventions. Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) provide the basis for evaluation of the functional state of the thick myelinated nerve fibres in patients with symptoms of PNP, but no such quantitative methods are available for the thin myelinated or unmyelinated fibers. Instead, a psychophysical method with thermal quantitative sensory testing (QST) can provide indirect information about the overall function in the afferent small fiber systems. The purpose of thesis was to evaluate the applicability of QST by the Method-of-limits (MLI) for early detection of PNP in Swedish ATTR patients with the Val30Met mutation.

In healthy subjects the repeatability of the MLI was assessed, and reference values for thermal perception thresholds (TPT) in several body regions were determined. No significant differences in TPT or pain thresholds were found at repeated testing with MLI, indicating that the MLI is a reliable method. However, the results show that the arrangement of the testing order is of importance, as cold (CT) and warm (WT) perception thresholds were significantly elevated when tested after thermal pain assessments, instead of before. I general, the TPT was more elevated at lower parts of the body compared to the upper part, and with higher WT than CT, fully in accordance with the underlying anatomical and physiological prerequisites for QST. In biopsy verified ATTR patients lacking EMG and NCS abnormalities, significantly elevated TPT were found compared to controls. Furthermore, significantly more increased TPT were observed in patients with an early onset of the disease, compared those with a late onset. Finally, a combined detailed evaluation of QST and heart rate variability (HRV) analyses demonstrated correlations between QST and HRV abnormalities in patients with late onset, but not in those with early onset.

The present thesis emphasizes the importance of incorporating QST early in the clinical evaluation of ATTR patients with a Val30Met mutation and with symptoms of thin fiber PNP. This is particularly indicated when patients report symptoms, or show signs, of neuropathic small fiber affection, but simultaneously exhibit normal EMG and NCS findings. The results furthermore underline the importance of performing both QST and HRV for a complete evaluation of both the thin somatic and autonomic nerve fibers, as both types of nerves may be affected early in the ATTR disease.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2011. , 67 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1470
Keyword [en]
Amyloidosis, cold thresholds, heart rate variability, method-of-limits, quantitative sensory testing, transthyretine, warm thresholds
National Category
Other Clinical Medicine
Research subject
Clinical Neurophysiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50617ISBN: 978-91-7459-320-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-50617DiVA: diva2:465976
Public defence
2012-01-13, Sal B (Rosa salen), by 1D, 9 tr, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-12-22 Created: 2011-12-15 Last updated: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Reproducibility and influence of test modality order on thermal perception and thermal pain thresholds in quantitative sensory testing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reproducibility and influence of test modality order on thermal perception and thermal pain thresholds in quantitative sensory testing
2010 (English)In: Clinical Neurophysiology, ISSN 1388-2457, E-ISSN 1872-8952, Vol. 121, no 11, 1878-1885 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The findings show that QST with the MLI is a reliable tool for indirect evaluation of human small nerve fiber function.

Keyword
Method of limits; Quantitative sensory testing; Reproducibility; Thermal pain thresholds; Thermal perception thresholds
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42326 (URN)10.1016/j.clinph.2010.03.055 (DOI)000282158200012 ()20478739 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2011-04-07 Created: 2011-04-07 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
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