Diabetic neuropathy and axon reflex-mediated neurogenic vasodilatation in type 1 diabetes
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Objective: Axon reflex-mediated neurogenic vasodilatation in response to cutaneous heating may reflect early, pre-clinical small fibre dysfunction. We aimed to evaluate the distribution of the vascular flare area measured by laser doppler imaging ("LDIFLARE area") in type 1 diabetes and in healthy volunteers. Research and Methods: Concurrent with clinical and electrophysiological examination to classify diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSP), LDIFLARE area (cm2) was determined in 89 type 1 diabetes subjects matched to 64 healthy volunteers. We examined the association and diagnostic performance of LDI with clinical and subclinical measures of DSP and its severity. Results: Compared to the 64 healthy volunteers, the 56 diabetes controls without DSP had significantly lower LDIFLARE area (p = 0.006). The 33 diabetes cases with DSP had substantially lower LDIFLARE area as compared to controls without DSP (p = 0.002). There was considerable overlap in LDIFLARE area between all groups such that the ROC curve had an AUC of 0.72 and optimal sensitivity of 70% for the detection of clinical DSP. Use of a subclinical definition for DSP, according to subclinical sural nerve impairment, was associated with improved AUC of 0.75 and sensitivity of 79%. In multivariate analysis higher HbA1c and body mass index had independent associations with smaller LDIFLARE area. Conclusions: Axon reflex-mediated neurogenic vasodilatation in response to cutaneous heating is a biomarker of early nerve dysfunction in DSP. Its independent association with glycemic exposure in diabetes subjects and both glycemic exposure and BMI in healthy volunteers highlights the existence of small-fibre dysfunction in the natural history of DSP. © 2012 Nabavi Nouri et al.