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Heterozygous RTN2 variants have been previously identified in a limited cohort of families affected by autosomal dominant spastic paraplegia (SPG12-OMIM:604805) with a variable age of onset. Nevertheless, the definitive validity of SPG12 remains to be confidently confirmed due to scarcity of supporting evidence. In our study, we identified and validated seven novel or ultra-rare homozygous loss-of-function RTN2 variants in 14 individuals from seven consanguineous families with distal hereditary motor neuropathy (dHMN) using exome, genome and Sanger sequencing coupled with deep-phenotyping. All affected individuals (seven males and seven females, aged 9-50 years) exhibited weakness in the distal upper and lower limbs, lower limb spasticity, hyperreflexia, with an onset in the first decade of life. Nerve conduction studies revealed axonal motor neuropathy with neurogenic changes in the electromyography. Despite a slowly progressive disease course, all patients remained ambulatory over a mean disease duration of 19.71 ± 13.70 years. Characterisation of C. elegans RTN2 homolog loss-of-function variants demonstrated morphological and behavioural differences compared to the parental strain. Treatment of the mutant with an endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ reuptake inhibitor (2,5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone) rescued key phenotypic differences, suggesting a potential therapeutic benefit for RTN2-disorder. Despite Reticulon-2 being an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident membrane shaping protein, our analysis of patient fibroblast cells did not find significant alterations in ER structure or the response to ER stress. Our findings delineate a distinct form of autosomal recessive dHMN with pyramidal features associated with Reticulon-2 deficiency. This phenotype shares similarities with SIGMAR1-related dHMN, and Silver-like syndromes, providing valuable insights into the clinical spectrum and potential therapeutic strategies for RTN2-related dHMN.

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dHMN, hereditary spastic paraplegia, neurodegeneration, polyneuropathy