An essential role of MAG in mediating axon-myelin attachment in Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A disease

Jochen Kinter, Thomas Lazzati, Daniela Schmid, Thomas Zeis, Beat Erne, Roland Lützelschwab, Andreas J. Steck, Davide Pareyson, Elior Peles, Nicole Schaeren-Wiemers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is a hereditary demyelinating peripheral neuropathy caused by the duplication of the PMP22 gene. Demyelination precedes the occurrence of clinical symptoms that correlate with axonal degeneration. It was postulated that a disturbed axon-glia interface contributes to altered myelination consequently leading to axonal degeneration. In this study, we examined the expression of MAG and Necl4, two critical adhesion molecules that are present at the axon-glia interface, in sural nerve biopsies of CMT1A patients and in peripheral nerves of mice overexpressing human PMP22, an animal model for CMT1A. We show an increase in the expression of MAG and a strong decrease of Necl4 in biopsies of CMT1A patients as well as in CMT1A mice. Expression analysis revealed that MAG is strongly upregulated during peripheral nerve maturation, whereas Necl4 expression remains very low. Ablating MAG in CMT1A mice results in separation of axons from their myelin sheath. Our data show that MAG is important for axon-glia contact in a model for CMT1A, and suggest that its increased expression in CMT1A disease has a compensatory role in the pathology of the disease. Thus, we demonstrate that MAG together with other adhesion molecules such as Necl4 is important in sustaining axonal integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Axonal pathology
  • CMT1A
  • Myelin associated protein (MAG)
  • Nectin-like protein (Necl4)
  • Peripheral neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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