Microvasculitis in non-diabetic lumbosacral radiculoptexus neuropathy (LSRPN): Similarity to the diabetic variety (DLSRPN)

P. James B. Dyck, Ja Nean Engelstad, Jane Norell, Peter J. Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy (DLSRPN) has been shown to be due to ischemic injury from microvasculitis. The present study tests whether ischemic injury and microvasculitis are the pathologic cause of non- diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy (LSRPN), and whether the pathologic alterations are different between LSRPN and DLSRPN. We studied distal cutaneous nerve biopsies of 47 patients with LSRPN and compared findings with those of 14 age-matched healthy controls and 33 DLSRPN patients. In both disease conditions, we found evidence of ischemic injury (multifocal fiber degeneration and loss, perineurial degeneration and scarring, characteristic fiber alterations, neovascularization, and injury neuroma) that we attribute to microvasculitis (mural and perivascular mononuclear inflammation of micro-vessels, inflammatory separation, fragmentation and destruction of mural smooth muscle, and previous microscopic bleeding [hemosiderin]). Teased nerve fibers in LSRPN showed significantly increased frequencies of axonal degeneration, segmental demyelination, and empty nerve strands. The segmental demyelination appeared to be clustered on fibers with axonal dystrophy. The nerves with abnormal frequencies of demyelination were significantly associated with nerves showing multifocal fiber loss. We reached the following conclusions: 1) LSRPN is a serious condition with much morbidity that mirrors DLSRPN. 2) lschemic injury from microvasculitis appears to be the cause of LSRPN. 3) Axonal degeneration and segmental demyelination appear to be linked and due to ischemia. 4) The pathologic alterations ill LSRPN and DLSRPN are indistinguishable, raising the question whether these 2 conditions have a common underlying mechanism, and whether diabetes mellitus contributes to the pathology or is a risk factor in DLSRPN. 5) Both LSRPN and DLSRPN are potentially treatable conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-538
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Diabetic amyotrophy
  • Ischemic neuropathy
  • Lumbosacral plexopathy
  • Microvasculitis
  • Necrotizing vasculitis
  • Non-diabetic lumbosacral radiculoplexus neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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