Pathological evidence of amyloid on nerve biopsy has been the gold standard for diagnosis in hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis polyneuropathy (hATTR-PN) for a long time. In this article, we reviewed the pathological findings of a large series of sural nerve biopsies from a cohort of hATTR-PN patients, collected by different Italian referral centers.
Patients and Methods: We reviewed clinical and pathological data from hATTR-PN patients, diagnosed and followed in five Italian referral centers for peripheral neuropathies. Diagnosis was formulated after a positive genetic test for transthyretin (TTR) mutations. Sural nerve biopsy was performed according to standard protocols.
Results: Sixty-nine sural nerve biopsies from hATTR-PN patients were examined. Congo red positive deposits were found in 73% of cases. Only the Phe64Leu mutation failed to show amyloid deposits in a high percentage of biopsies (54%), as already described. Unusual pathological findings, such as myelin abnormalities or inflammatory infiltrates, were detected in occasional cases.
Conclusions: Even if no longer indicated to confirm hATTR-PN clinical suspicion, nerve biopsy remains, in expert hands, a rapid and inexpensive tool to detect amyloid deposition. In Italy, clinicians should be aware that a negative biopsy does not exclude hATTR-PN, particularly for Phe64Leu, one of the most frequent mutations in this country.
Published: 26 October 2020
Journal: Brain Sciences, volume 10, issue 780