Relationships between type 2 diabetes, neuropathy, and microvascular dysfunction: Evidence from patients with cryptogenic axonal polyneuropathy

Anna L. Emanuel*, Mariska D. Nieuwenhoff, Erica S. Klaassen, Ajay Verma, Mark H.H. Kramer, Rob Strijers, Alexander F.J.E. Vrancken, Etto Eringa, Geert Jan Groeneveld, Erik H. Serné

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE This study investigated whether the relationship between neuropathy and microvascular dysfunction in patients with type 2 diabetes is independent of diabetesrelated factors. For this purpose, we compared skin microvascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes with that of patients with cryptogenic axonal polyneuropathy (CAP), a polyneuropathy of unknown etiology. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cross-sectional information was collected from 16 healthy controls (HCs), 16 patients with CAP, 15 patients with type 2 diabetes with polyneuropathy (DPN), and 11 patients with type 2 diabetes without polyneuropathy. Axonal degeneration was assessed with skin biopsy and nerve conduction studies. Microvascular skin vasodilation was measured using laser Doppler fluxmetry combined with iontophoresis of acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP). RESULTS Patients with CAP and DPN demonstrated a similar decrease in intraepidermal nerve fiber density and sural sensory nerve action potential compared with HCs. The vasodilator response to ACh was similar among patients with CAP (relative mean difference based on log values 13.3%; 95% CI235.0 to 97.7%; P = 0.652) but was lower in the patients with diabetes with neuropathy (157.5%; 42.0-366.7%; P = 0.003) and without neuropathy (174.2%; 44.2-421.3%; P = 0.003) compared with HCs. No significant differences were found between the groups of patients with diabetes (P = 0.845). The vasodilator response to SNP was not significantly different among the groups (P = 0.082). CONCLUSIONS In this study, endothelium-dependent vasodilation was reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes regardless of the presence of polyneuropathy, whereas microvascular vasodilation was normal in patients with CAP. These data suggest that in type 2 diabetes, neuropathy does not contribute to impaired microvascular endothelium- dependent vasodilation and vice versa. In addition, this study suggests that impaired microvascular vasodilation does not contribute to CAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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