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Diabetes Care. 2007 Oct;30(10):2608-12. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Corneal confocal microscopy detects early nerve regeneration after pancreas transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Author information

1
Transplant Unit, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) is a rapid, noninvasive, clinical examination technique that quantifies small nerve fiber pathology. We have used it to assess the neurological benefits of pancreas transplantation in type 1 diabetic patients.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

In 20 patients with type 1 diabetes undergoing simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation (SPK) and 15 control subjects, corneal sensitivity was evaluated using noncontact corneal esthesiometry, and small nerve fiber morphology was assessed using CCM.

RESULTS:

Corneal sensitivity (1.54 +/- 0.28 vs. 0.77 +/- 0.02, P < 0.0001), nerve fiber density (NFD) (13.8 +/- 2.1 vs. 42 +/- 3.2, P < 0.0001), nerve branch density (NBD) (4.04 +/- 1.5 vs. 26.7 +/- 2.5, P < 0.0001), and nerve fiber length (NFL) (2.23 +/- 0.2 vs. 9.69 +/- 0.7, P < 0.0001) were significantly reduced, and nerve fiber tortuosity (NFT) (15.7 +/- 1.02 vs. 19.56 +/- 1.34, P = 0.04) was increased in diabetic patients before pancreas transplantation. Six months after SPK, 15 patients underwent a second assessment and showed a significant improvement in NFD (18.04 +/- 10.48 vs. 9.25 +/- 1.87, P = 0.001) and NFL (3.60 +/- 0.33 vs. 1.84 +/- 0.33, P = 0.002) with no change in NBD (1.38 +/- 0.74 vs. 1.38 +/- 1.00, P = 1.0), NFT (15.58 +/- 1.20 vs. 16.30 +/- 1.19, P = 0.67), or corneal sensitivity (1.23 +/- 0.39 vs. 1.54 +/- 00.42, P = 0.59).

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite marked nerve fiber damage in type 1 diabetic patients undergoing pancreas transplantation, small fiber repair can be detected within 6 months of pancreas transplantation using CCM. CCM is a novel noninvasive clinical technique to assess the benefits of therapeutic intervention in human diabetic neuropathy.

PMID:
17623821
DOI:
10.2337/dc07-0870
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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