Proximal Neuropathic Lesions in Distal Symmetric Diabetic Polyneuropathy

Findings of high-resolution magnetic resonance neurography

  1. Martin Bendszus, MD1
  1. 1Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Medicine I and Clinical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  3. 3Section of Experimental Radiology, Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  1. Corresponding author: Mirko Pham, mirko.pham{at}
  1. M.P. and D.O. contributed equally to this study.


OBJECTIVE This study investigated high-resolution magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) in distal symmetric diabetic polyneuropathy (dPNP).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS MRN comprised high-resolution transaxial imaging of peripheral nerves of the lower limbs in 20 patients with type 2 diabetes (10 with dPNP, type 2/dPNP[+], and 10 without dPNP, type 2/dPNP[−]), seven patients with type 1 diabetes (two with dPNP, type 1/dPNP[+], five without dPNP, type 1/dPNP[−]), and 10 nondiabetic control subjects. Intraneural T2 lesions, as the main diagnostic criterion of MRN, were detected visually by two independent observers and quantitatively by analysis of T2 contrast ratios.

RESULTS Multifocal fascicular, symmetric intraneural T2 lesions occurred in the proximal trunks of sciatic nerves in four patients (three with type 2/dPNP[+] and one with type 1/dPNP[+]) but not in control subjects (type 2/dPNP[−], type 1/dPNP[−], nondiabetic control subjects), which was confirmed by quantitative analysis. Clinical severity was higher in patients with T2 lesions (neuropathy deficit score: 10 vs. 7.8; P = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS For the first time, proximal neuropathic lesions of dPNP are reported in vivo. This supports that accumulation of proximal, multifocal fascicular injury may be important in disease progression.


    • Received August 8, 2010.
    • Accepted December 7, 2010.

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    1. Diabetes Care vol. 34 no. 3 721-723
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