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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Oct 2020 - 30 Oct 2020

Human Studies


Front Neurosci


Diabetic Polyneuropathy Is Associated With Pathomorphological Changes in Human Dorsal Root Ganglia: A Study Using 3T MR Neurography.


Jende JME, Kender Z, Rother C, Alvarez-Ramos L, Groener JB, Pham M, Morgenstern J, Oikonomou D, Hahn A, Juerchott A, Kollmer J, Heiland S, Kopf S, Nawroth PP, Bendszus M, Kurz FT
Front Neurosci. 2020; 14:570744.
PMID: 33100960.


Diabetic neuropathy (DPN) is one of the most severe and yet most poorly understood complications of diabetes mellitus. imaging of dorsal root ganglia (DRG), a key structure for the understanding of DPN, has been restricted to animal studies. These have shown a correlation of decreased DRG volume with neuropathic symptom severity. Our objective was to investigate correlations of DRG morphology and signal characteristics at 3 Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) with clinical and serological data in diabetic patients with and without DPN. In this cross-sectional study, participants underwent 3T MRN of both L5 DRG using an isotropic 3D T2-weighted, fat-suppressed sequence with subsequent segmentation of DRG volume and analysis of normalized signal properties. Overall, 55 diabetes patients (66 ± 9 years; 32 men; 30 with DPN) took part in this study. DRG volume was smaller in patients with severe DPN when compared to patients with mild or moderate DPN (134.7 ± 21.86 vs 170.1 ± 49.22; = 0.040). In DPN patients, DRG volume was negatively correlated with the neuropathy disability score ( = -0.43; 95%CI = -0.66 to -0.14; = 0.02), a measure of neuropathy severity. DRG volume showed negative correlations with triglycerides ( = -0.40; 95%CI = -0.57 to -0.19; = 0.006), and LDL cholesterol ( = -0.33; 95%CI = -0.51 to -0.11; = 0.04). There was a strong positive correlation of normalized MR signal intensity (SI) with the neuropathy symptom score in the subgroup of patients with painful DPN ( = 0.80; 95%CI = 0.46 to 0.93; = 0.005). DRG SI was positively correlated with HbA1c levels ( = 0.30; 95%CI = 0.09 to 0.50; = 0.03) and the triglyceride/HDL ratio ( = 0.40; 95%CI = 0.19 to 0.57; = 0.007). In this first study, we found DRG morphological degeneration and signal increase in correlation with neuropathy severity. This elucidates the potential importance of MR-based DRG assessments in studying structural and functional changes in DPN.