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Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Awareness Month Tooth to Paw

Extent of nerve damage in CMT disease differs with body site and growth rate

01 September 2020

Tooth to Paw

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is not about teeth. Rather, it concerns the body parts furthest away from our mouths: our hands and feet. Its name comes from the scientists who identified it: Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie and Howard Tooth. The disease damages nerves that run from the brain to the spinal cord and out to the muscles, carrying signals that control their movements. People with the disease show muscle weakness and numbness in their feet, ankles and hands, an awkward manner of walking, and arched or flat feet. There's no cure. Now researchers have shown for the first time that the extent of damage differs by nerve location and growth rate. Greater damage was observed in the hindlimbs than forelimbs of mice with a gene mutation that causes one variation of the disease in people. Here, the nerves (green) in a mouse’s hind-paw have lost connections to receptors (purple) on muscle cells.

Today marks the start of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease awareness month

Written by Deborah Oakley

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