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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 May 2020 - 29 May 2020

Human Studies

2020 May 18

Int J Mol Sci



C-Fiber Loss as a Possible Cause of Neuropathic Pain in Schwannomatosis.


Farschtschi SC, Mainka T, Glatzel M, Hannekum A-L, Hauck M, Gelderblom M, Hagel C, Friedrich RE, Schuhmann MU, Schulz A, Morrison H, Kehrer-Sawatzki H, Luhmann J, Gerloff C, Bendszus M, Bäumer P, Mautner V-F
Int J Mol Sci. 2020 May 18; 21(10).
PMID: 32443592.


Schwannomatosis is the third form of neurofibromatosis and characterized by the occurrence of multiple schwannomas. The most prominent symptom is chronic pain. We aimed to test whether pain in schwannomatosis might be caused by small-fiber neuropathy. Twenty patients with schwannomatosis underwent neurological examination and nerve conduction studies. Levels of pain perception as well as anxiety and depression were assessed by established questionnaires. Quantitative sensory testing (QST) and laser-evoked potentials (LEP) were performed on patients and controls. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (wbMRI) and magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) were performed to quantify tumors and fascicular nerve lesions; skin biopsies were performed to determine intra-epidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD). All patients suffered from chronic pain without further neurological deficits. The questionnaires indicated neuropathic symptoms with significant impact on quality of life. Peripheral nerve tumors were detected in all patients by wbMRI. MRN showed additional multiple fascicular nerve lesions in 16/18 patients. LEP showed significant faster latencies compared to normal controls. Finally, IENFD was significantly reduced in 13/14 patients. Our study therefore indicates the presence of small-fiber neuropathy, predominantly of unmyelinated C-fibers. Fascicular nerve lesions are characteristic disease features that are associated with faster LEP latencies and decreased IENFD. Together these methods may facilitate differential diagnosis of schwannomatosis.