A sural nerve biopsy was performed on an 8‐year‐old boy with a chronic, slowly progressive polyneuropathy. Light and electron microscopy as well as teased nerve‐fiber preparations demonstrated numerous giant axons filled with closely packed neurofilaments. Both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers were involved. Segmental demyelination, remyelination, and onion‐bulb formation by multiple Schwann cell processes were observed, suggesting recurrent Schwann cell dysfunction. Abundant aggregates of cytoplasmic microfilaments occurred in Schwann cells, endothelial cells, perineurial cells, endoneurial fibroblasts, and endomysial fibroblasts. These findings support the proposal that giant axonal neuropathy is a generalized disorder of cytoplasmic microfilaments and that segmental demyelination occurs concomitantly with axonal and Schwann cell disease. The pathogenesis of this rare disorder is discussed with reference to experimental toxic neuropathies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology