Diabetic neuropathy and microcirculation

Curr Diab Rep. 2003 Dec;3(6):446-51. doi: 10.1007/s11892-003-0006-0.


The microcirculation in diabetic and neuropathic feet is subject to the same changes found in other end organs of diabetic patients, such as the retina or the kidney. Complications such as foot ulceration lead to further morbidity and hospitalizations. Research into the causes of microcirculatory dysfunction has revealed an interplay of numerous factors. The most prominent findings are impaired endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilation and reduced or absent nerve-axon reflex-related vasodilation. This renders the diabetic foot unable to mount a vasodilatory response under conditions of stress, such as injury, and makes it functionally ischemic even in the presence of satisfactory blood flow under normal conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axons / physiology
  • Diabetic Foot / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / physiopathology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Vasodilation / physiology


  • NOS3 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases