Painful peripheral neuropathy affects millions of people worldwide. Peripheral neuropathy develops in patients with various diseases, including rare familial or acquired amyloid polyneuropathies, as well as some common diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and several chronic inflammatory diseases. Intriguingly, these diseases share a histopathological feature—deposits of amyloid-forming proteins in tissues. Amyloid-forming proteins may cause tissue dysregulation and damage, including damage to nerves, and may be a common cause of neuropathy in these, and potentially other, diseases. Here, we will discuss how amyloid proteins contribute to peripheral neuropathy by reviewing the current understanding of pathogenic mechanisms in known inherited and acquired (usually rare) amyloid neuropathies. In addition, we will discuss the potential role of amyloid proteins in peripheral neuropathy in some common diseases, which are not (yet) considered as amyloid neuropathies. We conclude that there are many similarities in the molecular and cell biological defects caused by aggregation of the various amyloid proteins in these different diseases and propose a common pathogenic pathway for “peripheral amyloid neuropathies”.
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