Spectrum of diabetic neuropathies

Hideyuki Sasaki, Nobutoshi Kawamura, Peter J Dyck, P. James B. Dyck, Mikihiro Kihara, Phillip A. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The diabetic state results in neuropathy. The main causative mechanism is hyperglycemia, although microvascular involvement, hypertriglyceridemia, as well as genetic and immune mechanisms may be contributory. There is a growing spectrum of types of diabetic neuropathies that differ based on the type of fibers involved (e.g. myelinated, unmyelinated, autonomic, somatic), distribution of nerves involved, and mechanisms of neuropathy. The most common type is distal sensory neuropathy (DSN), which affects the distal ends of large myelinated fibers, more often sensory than motor, and is often asymptomatic. The next-most common is distal small fiber neuropathy (DSFN), which largely affects the unmyelinated fibers and carries the phenotype of burning feet syndrome. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy (DAN) occurs when widespread involvement of autonomic unmyelinated fibers occurs, and patients can be incapacitated with orthostatic hypotension as well as neurogenic bladder and bowel involvement. Radiculoplexus diabetic neuropathy causes proximal weakness and pain, usually in the lower extremity, and has a combination of immune, inflammatory, and vascular mechanisms. The nerve roots and plexus are involved. These patients present with proximal weakness of a subacute onset, often with severe pain and some autonomic failure. Finally, rapid and sustained reduction of blood glucose can result in treatment-induced diabetic neuropathy (TIND), which largely affects the sensory and autonomic fibers. This occurs if HbA1c is rapidly reduced within 3 months, and the likelihood is proportional to the original A1c and the size of the reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetology International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Autonomic
  • Diabetes
  • Neuropathy
  • Radiculoplexus
  • Treatment-induced neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectrum of diabetic neuropathies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this