X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X) is the second most common cause of CMT, and is usually caused by mutations in the gap junction protein beta 1 (GJB1) gene which codes for connexin 32 (CX32). CX32 has three tissue-specific promoters, P1 which is specific for liver and pancreas, P1a specific for liver, oocytes and embryonic stem cells, and P2 which is nerve-specific. Over 300 mutations have been described in GJB1, spread throughout the coding region. We describe two families with X-linked inheritance and a phenotype consistent with CMT1X who did not have mutations in the GJB1 coding region. The non-coding region of GJB1 was sequenced and an upstream exon-splicing variant found at approximately - 373G>A which segregated with the disease in both families and was not present in controls. This substitution is located at the last base of the nerve-specific 5'UTR and thus may disrupt splicing of the nerve-specific transcript. Online consensus splice-site programs predict a reduced score for the mutant sequence vs. the normal sequence. It is likely that other mutations within the GJB1 non-coding regions account for the CMT1X families who do not have coding region mutations.