In the laboratory, new research continues to provide new insights into HSAN1 and related neuropathies. In addition to amino acids, lipid (fat) content in the diet may influence HSAN1 symptoms and disease progression. In HSAN1 mice, high fat diets seemed to cause an earlier onset of symptoms. This may help explain why some people have symptoms earlier, or show faster progression. Controlling lipid/fat intake may help manage HSAN1 symptoms.
The amino acid L-serine seems to play a beneficial role in HSAN1, and may also improve neuropathic symptoms in other diseases such as Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetic mice display neuropathy similar to HSAN1, and L-serine in these mice showed positive results in terms of symptoms and nerve pathology.
Lastly, we discovered that cultures of sensory neurons from HSAN1 mice respond differently to injury. HSAN1-associated mutations seem to cause excessive growth and branching of sensory neurons. This may represent a poor response to neuronal damage, which in culture can be corrected with L-serine. These results warrant a closer investigation of nerve damage in the earlier stages of HSAN1.