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Diabetologia. 1992 Jun;35(6):560-9.

The reproducibility and sensitivity of sural nerve morphometry in the assessment of diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The nerve fibre loss, atrophy and injury of diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy and their responses to metabolic intervention have been studied by morphometric analysis of sural nerve biopsies. The magnitudes and sources of intra- and inter-individual variation in these morphometric measures have not been investigated previously in a systematic manner. Morphometric parameters of nerve fibre damage were measured in four separate fascicles from bilateral sural nerve specimens obtained post-mortem from 13 diabetic and 13 non-diabetic subjects. Intra- and inter-individual coefficients of variation were computed and compared to the magnitude of the differences between normal and diabetic subjects. Several morphometric variables emerged as highly sensitive and reproducible measures of nerve fibre damage suitable for clinical studies of diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy. These observations provide a rational basis for the design of future clinical trials employing morphometric end-points.

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