Clinical, neurophysiological and serological clues for the diagnosis of neuromyotonia and distinction from cramp-fasciculation syndrome.
Spagni G., Modoni A., Primiano G., Luigetti M., Sun B., Falso S., Monte G., Distefano M., Granata G., Evoli A., Damato V., Iorio R.
Neuromyotonia and cramp-fasciculation syndrome diagnosis currently relies on neurophysiological examination. In this study we investigated the clinical features and neural antibody profile of patients with neuromyotonia and cramp-fasciculation syndrome to assess the diagnostic value of serological testing. Available sera from adult patients with electromyography-defined neuromyotonia and cramp-fasciculation syndrome were tested for neural antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence on mouse brain sections and live cell-based assays. Forty patients were included, 14 with neuromyotonia and 26 with cramp-fasciculation syndrome. Neural antibodies were detected in 10/10 neuromyotonia sera, most commonly against contactin-associated protein 2 (7/10, 70%), and in 1/20 (5%) cramp-fasciculation syndrome sera. Clinical myokymia, hyperhidrosis, and paresthesia or neuropathic pain were more common in neuromyotonia and mostly associated with contactin-associated protein 2 antibodies. Central nervous system involvement was present in 4/14 (29%) neuromyotonia patients. A tumor was detected in 13/14 (93%) neuromyotonia patients (thymoma, 13), and in 4/26 (15%) with cramp-fasciculation syndrome (thymoma, 1; other neoplasms, 3). Twenty-one/27 (78%) patients achieved a significant improvement or complete remission. Our findings highlight clinical, neurophysiological and serological clues that can be useful in the diagnosis of neuromyotonia and cramp-fasciculation syndrome. Antibody testing is valuable for neuromyotonia diagnosis, while its usefulness in cramp-fasciculation syndrome confirmation is limited.