Corneal confocal microscopy detects small nerve fibre damage in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.
ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain is believed to arise from damage to nociceptive C fibres in diabetic neuropathy (DN). We have utilised corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) to quantify the severity of small nerve fibre damage in relation to the severity of neuropathic pain and quality of life (QoL) in patients with and without painful DN. 30 controls and patients with painful (n?=?78) and painless (n?=?62) DN underwent assessment of large and small nerve fibre function, CCM, neuropathic symptoms (small fibre neuropathy symptom inventory questionnaire, neuropathic pain scale) and QoL (SF-36, pre-R-ODS and hospital anxiety and depression scale). Patients with painful compared to painless DN, had comparable neurophysiology and vibration perception, but lower corneal nerve fibre density (20.1?±?0.87 vs. 24.13?±?0.91, P?=?0.005), branch density (44.4?±?3.31 vs. 57.74?±?3.98, P?=?0.03), length (19.61?±?0.81 vs. 22.77?±?0.83, P?=?0.01), inferior whorl length (18.03?±?1.46 vs. 25.1?±?1.95, P?=?0.005) and cold sensation threshold (21.35?±?0.99 vs. 26.08?±?0.5, P?
Project description:We assessed whether a measure of more distal corneal nerve fibre loss at the inferior whorl(IW) region is better than proximal measures of central corneal nerve damage in relation to the diagnosis of diabetic peripheral neuropathy(DPN), painful DPN and quality of life(QoL). Participants underwent detailed assessment of neuropathy, QoL using the SF36 questionnaire, pain visual analogue score(VAS), and corneal confocal microscopy(CCM). Corneal nerve fibre density (CNFD), branch density (CNBD) and length (CNFL) at the central cornea and inferior whorl length (IWL) and average(ANFL) and total(TNFL) nerve fibre length were compared in patients with and without DPN and between patients with and without painful DPN and in relation to QoL. All CCM parameters were significantly reduced, but IWL was reduced ~three-fold greater than CNFL in patients with and without DPN compared to controls. IWL(p?=?0.001), ANFL(p?=?0.01) and TNFL(p?=?0.02) were significantly lower in patients with painful compared to painless DPN. The VAS score correlated with IWL(r?=?-0.36, P?=?0.004), ANFL(r?=?-0.32, P?=?0.01) and TNFL(r?=?-0.32, P?=?0.01) and QoL correlated with CNFL(r?=?0.35, P?=?0.01) and IWL(r?=?0.4, P?=?0.004). Corneal nerve fibre damage is more prominent at the IW, lower in patients with painful compared to painless neuropathy and relates to their QoL. IWL may provide additional clinical utility for CCM in patients with DPN.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) is a rapid, non-invasive, reproducible technique that quantifies small nerve fibres. We have compared the diagnostic capability of CCM against a range of established measures of nerve damage in patients with diabetic neuropathy.<h4>Methods</h4>In this cross sectional study, thirty subjects with Type 1 diabetes without neuropathy (T1DM), thirty one T1DM subjects with neuropathy (DSPN) and twenty seven non-diabetic healthy control subjects underwent detailed assessment of neuropathic symptoms and neurologic deficits, quantitative sensory testing (QST), electrophysiology, skin biopsy and corneal confocal microscopy (CCM).<h4>Results</h4>Subjects with DSPN were older (C vs T1DM vs DSPN: 41.0±14.9 vs 38.8±12.5 vs 53.3±11.9, P = 0.0002), had a longer duration of diabetes (P<0.0001), lower eGFR (P = 0.006) and higher albumin-creatinine ratio (P = 0.03) with no significant difference for HbA1c, BMI, lipids and blood pressure. Patients with DSPN were representative of subjects with diabetic neuropathy with clinical signs and symptoms of neuropathy and greater neuropathy deficits quantified by QST, electrophysiology, intra-epidermal nerve fibre density and CCM. Corneal nerve fibre density (CNFD) (Spearman's Rho = 0.60 P<0.0001) and IENFD (Spearman's Rho = 0.56 P<0.0001) were comparable when correlated with peroneal nerve conduction velocity. For the diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy the sensitivity for CNFD was 0.77 and specificity was 0.79 with an area under the ROC curve of 0.81. IENFD had a diagnostic sensitivity of 0.61, specificity of 0.80 and area under the ROC curve of 0.73.<h4>Conclusions</h4>CCM is a valid accurate non-invasive method to identify small nerve fibre pathology and is able to diagnose DPN.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis with polyneuropathy (ATTRv-PN) is a rare disease characterized by rapid neuropathic progression. In pivotal studies of gene-silencing treatments, the modified Neuropathy Impairment Score + 7 tests (mNIS + 7) and Norfolk-Quality of Life (QOL)-Diabetic Neuropathy (DN) questionnaire assessed treatment impact on neuropathic progression. Establishing responder definition (RD) thresholds for these measures would enable evaluation of clinically meaningful treatment benefit.<h4>Methods</h4>mNIS + 7 and Norfolk-QOL-DN were administered at baseline and week 65 to 165 adults with ATTRv-PN receiving inotersen (n = 106) or placebo (n = 59) in the NEURO-TTR study. Anchor-based approaches for estimating RD thresholds were used for Norfolk QOL-DN, while distribution-based approaches were used for both measures. Responders were patients with a score change < RD, indicating improvement or stabilization (i.e., no clinically meaningful progression). Odds ratios (ORs) and Fisher's exact tests compared proportions of responders by treatment.<h4>Results</h4>The mean RD estimates were 12.2 points and 8.8 points for mNIS + 7 and Norfolk QOL-DN, respectively. The proportions of patients whose change in score indicated improvement or stabilization were statistically significantly larger for inotersen than placebo for all estimated RD thresholds for mNIS + 7 (64-86% responders for inotersen vs. 27-46% for placebo, ORs = 3.8-7.2, ps < 0.001) and Norfolk QOL-DN (66-81% vs. 35-56%, ORs = 2.4-3.6, ps < 0.05).<h4>Discussion</h4>Establishing RD thresholds for these instruments enables evaluation of clinically relevant and individual-level treatment benefit on neuropathic progression. Across RDs estimated using multiple methods, a higher proportion of patients receiving inotersen than placebo showed improved or stabilized neuropathic progression at week 65.<h4>Trial registration</h4>ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01737398; Date of registration: November 29, 2012.
Project description:Diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) and endothelial dysfunction are prevalent complications of diabetes mellitus. Currently, there are two non-invasive markers for endothelial dysfunction: flow-mediated dilation and reactive hyperaemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT). However, the relationship between diabetic small fibre neuropathy and macroangiopathy remains obscure thus far. Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) has emerged as a new diagnostic modality to assess DPN, especially of small fibre. To clarify the relationship between diabetic small fibre neuropathy and vascular dysfunction, we aimed to determine the functions of peripheral nerves and blood vessels through clinical tests such as nerve conduction study, coefficient of variation in the R-R interval, CCM, and RH-PAT in 82 patients with type 2 diabetes. Forty healthy control subjects were also included to study corneal nerve parameters. Correlational and multiple linear regression analyses were performed to determine the associations between neuropathy indices and markers for vascular functions. The results revealed that patients with type 2 diabetes had significantly lower values for most variables of CCM than healthy control subjects. RH-PAT solely remained as an explanatory variable significant in multiple regression analysis for several CCM parameters and vice versa. Other vascular markers had no significant multiple regression with any CCM parameters. In conclusion, endothelial dysfunction as revealed by impaired RH-PAT was significantly associated with CCM parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes. This association may indicate that small fibre neuropathy results from impaired endothelial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. CCM parameters may be considered surrogate markers of autonomic nerve damage, which is related to diabetic endothelial dysfunction. This study is the first to report the relationship between corneal nerve parameter as small fibre neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes and RH-PAT as a marker of endothelial dysfunction.
Project description:Different sensory profiles in diabetic distal symmetrical sensory-motor polyneuropathy (DSPN) may be associated with pain and the responsiveness to analgesia. We aimed to characterize sensory phenotypes of patients with painful and painless diabetic neuropathy and to assess demographic, clinical, metabolic, and electrophysiological parameters related to the presence of neuropathic pain in a large cohort of well-defined DSPN subjects. This observational cross-sectional multi-center cohort study (performed as part of the ncRNAPain EU consortium) of 232 subjects with nonpainful (n = 74) and painful (n = 158) DSPN associated with diabetes mellitus of type 1 and 2 (median age 63 years, range 21-87 years; 92 women) comprised detailed history taking, laboratory tests, neurological examination, quantitative sensory testing, nerve conduction studies, and neuropathy severity scores. All parameters were analyzed with regard to the presence and severity of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain was positively correlated with the severity of neuropathy and thermal hyposensitivity (P < 0.001). A minority of patients with painful DSPN (14.6%) had a sensory profile, indicating thermal hypersensitivity that was associated with less severe neuropathy. Neuropathic pain was further linked to female sex and higher cognitive appraisal of pain as assessed by the pain catastrophizing scale (P < 0.001), while parameters related to diabetes showed no influence on neuropathic pain with the exception of laboratory signs of nephropathy. This study confirms the value of comprehensive DSPN phenotyping and underlines the importance of the severity of neuropathy for the presence of pain. Different sensory phenotypes might be useful for stratification of patients with painful DSPN for analgesic treatment and drug trials.
Project description:Non-freezing cold injury develops after sustained exposure to cold temperatures, resulting in tissue cooling but not freezing. This can result in persistent sensory disturbance of the hands and feet including numbness, paraesthesia and chronic pain. Both vascular and neurological aetiologies of this pain have been suggested but remain unproven. We prospectively approached patients referred for clinical assessment of chronic pain following non-freezing cold injury between 12 February 2014 and 30 November 2016. Of 47 patients approached, 42 consented to undergo detailed neurological evaluations including: questionnaires to detail pain location and characteristics, structured neurological examination, quantitative sensory testing, nerve conduction studies and skin biopsy for intraepidermal nerve fibre assessment. Of the 42 study participants, all had experienced non-freezing cold injury while serving in the UK armed services and the majority were of African descent (76.2%) and male (95.2%). Many participants reported multiple exposures to cold. The median time between initial injury and referral was 3.72 years. Pain was principally localized to the hands and the feet, neuropathic in nature and in all study participants associated with cold hypersensitivity. Clinical examination and quantitative sensory testing were consistent with a sensory neuropathy. In all cases, large fibre nerve conduction studies were normal. The intraepidermal nerve fibre density was markedly reduced with 90.5% of participants having a count at or below the 0.05 centile of published normative controls. Using the Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain grading for neuropathic pain, 100% had probable and 95.2% definite neuropathic pain. Chronic non-freezing cold injury is a disabling neuropathic pain disorder due to a sensory neuropathy. Why some individuals develop an acute painful sensory neuropathy on sustained cold exposure is not yet known, but individuals of African descent appear vulnerable. Screening tools, such as the DN4 questionnaire, and treatment algorithms for neuropathic pain should now be used in the management of these patients.
Project description:Accurately quantifying the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is key to identify individuals who will progress to foot ulceration and to power clinical intervention trials. We have undertaken detailed neuropathy phenotyping to assess the longitudinal utility of different measures of neuropathy in patients with diabetes. Nineteen patients with diabetes (age 52.5?±?14.7 years, duration of diabetes 26.0?±?13.8 years) and 19 healthy controls underwent assessment of symptoms and signs of neuropathy, quantitative sensory testing, autonomic nerve function, neurophysiology, intra-epidermal nerve fibre density (IENFD) and corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) to quantify corneal nerve fibre density (CNFD), branch density (CNBD) and fibre length (CNFL). Mean follow-up was 6.5 years. Glycated haemoglobin (p?=?0.04), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) (p?=?0.0009) and urinary albumin creatinine ratio (p?<?0.0001) improved. Neuropathy symptom profile (p?=?0.03), neuropathy disability score (p?=?0.04), vibration perception threshold (p?=?0.02), cold perception threshold (p?=?0.006), CNFD (p?=?0.03), CNBD (p?<?0.0001), CNFL (p?<?0.0001), IENFD (p?=?0.04), sural (p?=?0.02) and peroneal motor nerve conduction velocity (p?=?0.03) deteriorated significantly. Change (?) in CNFL correlated with ?CPT (p?=?0.006) and ?Expiration/Inspiration ratio (p?=?0.002) and ?IENFD correlated with ?CNFD (p?=?0.005), ?CNBD (p?=?0.02) and ?CNFL (p?=?0.01). This study shows worsening of diabetic neuropathy across a range of neuropathy measures, especially CCM, despite an improvement in HbA1c and LDL-C. It further supports the utility of CCM as a rapid, non-invasive surrogate measure of diabetic neuropathy.
Project description:Disabling neuropathic pain (NeuP) is a common sequel of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). We aimed to characterise the sensory phenotype of patients with and without NeuP, assess screening tools for NeuP, and relate DPN severity to NeuP. The Pain in Neuropathy Study (PiNS) is an observational cross-sectional multicentre study. A total of 191 patients with DPN underwent neurological examination, quantitative sensory testing, nerve conduction studies, and skin biopsy for intraepidermal nerve fibre density assessment. A set of questionnaires assessed the presence of pain, pain intensity, pain distribution, and the psychological and functional impact of pain. Patients were divided according to the presence of DPN, and thereafter according to the presence and severity of NeuP. The DN4 questionnaire demonstrated excellent sensitivity (88%) and specificity (93%) in screening for NeuP. There was a positive correlation between greater neuropathy severity (r = 0.39, P < 0.01), higher HbA1c (r = 0.21, P < 0.01), and the presence (and severity) of NeuP. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy sensory phenotype is characterised by hyposensitivity to applied stimuli that was more marked in the moderate/severe NeuP group than in the mild NeuP or no NeuP groups. Brush-evoked allodynia was present in only those with NeuP (15%); the paradoxical heat sensation did not discriminate between those with (40%) and without (41.3%) NeuP. The "irritable nociceptor" subgroup could only be applied to a minority of patients (6.3%) with NeuP. This study provides a firm basis to rationalise further phenotyping of painful DPN, for instance, stratification of patients with DPN for analgesic drug trials.
Project description:There is an unmet need for better diagnostic tools to further delineate clinical subsets of heterogeneous chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) and multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) to facilitate treatment decisions. Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) is a noninvasive and reproducible nerve imaging technique. This study evaluates the potential of CCM as a diagnostic surrogate in CIDP and MMN.In a cross-sectional prospective approach, 182 patients and healthy controls were studied using CCM to quantify corneal nerve damage and immune cell infiltration.Patients with CIDP and MMN had a reduction in corneal nerve fiber (CNF) measures and an increase in corneal immune cell infiltrates. In CIDP, CNF parameters decreased with increasing duration of disease. The number of dendritic cells in proximity to CNFs was increased in patients with early disease and correlated with the degree of motor affection. A further reduction in CNF parameters and an increase in nondendritic cells were observed in patients with painful neuropathy. In CIDP patients with antineuronal antibodies the number of nondendritic cells was increased.Our findings suggest that CNF loss may reflect severity of neuropathy and quantification of distinct cells around the CNF plexus may help in stratifying CIDP subtypes, clinical course, and disease activity. However, further longitudinal studies are required before CCM can be considered as a valid surrogate endpoint for patients with CIDP and MMN.
Project description:This randomized controlled study used corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) to compare the efficacy of Mecobalamin intramuscular injections vs oral tablets in treating mild to moderate diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) by detecting early nerve fiber repair. Enrolled patients were randomized approximately 1:1 to receive Mecobalamin intramuscular injections (0.5 mg/day, 3 times/week) or Mecobalamin oral tablets (1.5 mg/day) for 8 weeks. Primary outcome was change of inferior whorl length (IWL) from baseline. Secondary outcomes included changes of corneal nerve fibre length (CNFL), corneal nerve fibre density (CNFD), corneal nerve branch density (CNBD) and the Survey of Autonomic Symptoms (SAS). 15 (93.75%) patients in the injection group and 17 (89.47%) patients in the tablet group completed the study. The injection treatment significantly improved patients' IWL from baseline (21.64 ± 3.00 mm/mm<sup>2</sup> vs 17.64 ± 4.83 mm/mm<sup>2</sup>, P < 0.01) while the tablet treatment didn't. Additionally, the injection treatment led to significantly improved CNFL, CNBD and SAS from baseline (all P < 0.05) while the tablet treatment did not. No patient experienced any adverse events. In conclusion, CCM is sensitive enough to detect the superior efficacy of 8-week Mecobalamin intramuscular injection treatment for DPN compared to the oral tablet treatment.ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT04372316 (30/04/2020).