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Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Jun;105(6):593-602. Epub 2003 Mar 5.

Cytokines in sural nerve biopsies from inflammatory and non-inflammatory neuropathies.

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Neurologische Klinik der Universit├Ąt, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 11, 97080, W├╝rzburg, Germany.


Proinflammatory cytokines are supposed to play a major role in the pathophysiology of vasculitis and in the development of neuropathic pain. Here we studied the cytokine expression in sural nerve biopsy specimens from patients with vasculitic and other inflammatory and non-inflammatory neuropathies, and investigated whether an increased cytokine expression was correlated with the presence of neuropathic pain. We used immunohistochemistry including double labeling and morphometry to localize and quantify the expression of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) in sural nerve biopsy samples of 41 patients with vasculitic neuropathy (VANP), chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy (CIDP), non-inflammatory chronic axonal neuropathy (CANP), and 3 controls. Overall cytokine immunoreactivity was highest in VANP, less strong in CIDP and lowest in CANP. Cytokine immunoreactivity was directly correlated with the degree of axonal degeneration, endoneurial macrophages and epineurial T cells. In VANP and CANP, a higher cytokine content was associated with neuropathic pain.

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