Autonomic neuropathy in mixed cryoglobulinemia

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A retrospective, cross-sectional study was performed on a series of HCV-related mixed cryoglobulinemia (HCV-MC) patients to assess autonomic neuropathy (AN) and its relation to peripheral neuropathy (PN). Thirty consecutive patients affected by HCV-MC underwent clinical, neurological and electrodiagnostic examinations. Autonomic nervous system (ANS) involvement was assessed by functional cardiovascular tests and sympathetic skin response (SSR) evaluation. Sural nerve biopsy was performed in 10 patients with PN. All patients received steroids, 15 also received recombinant interferon-α2b (RIfn-α2b). PN occurred in 27 patients (90.0%) and AN in 4 (13.3 %) all with signs of PN. SSR was the autonomic test more frequently altered. Biopsy disclosed axonal degeneration more evident in the 4 patients with AN. Three out of 4 patients with AN received steroids and rIFN-α2b and 1 steroids alone. In our study on HCV-MC, it was concluded that AN can occur also without dysautonomic symptoms, SSR appears to be one of the optional tests to use together with dysautonomic tests to identify AN and finally PN and AN do not seem to be positively influenced by addition of rIFN-α2b to steroid treatment.

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