Laser evoked potentials for assessing sensory neuropathy in human patients

Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 6;361(1-3):25-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.12.008.


Sensory neuropathy usually impairs tactile sensations related to large myelinated afferents (Abeta) as well as thermal-pain sense related to small myelinated (Adelta) and unmyelinated (C) afferents. By selectively affecting large or small fibres, some sensory neuropathies may also provoke a dissociated sensory loss. Standard nerve conduction studies and somatosensory evoked potentials assess Abeta-fibre function only. Laser pulses selectively excite free nerve endings in the superficial skin layers and evoke Adelta-related brain potentials (LEPs). From earlier studies and new cases we collected data on 270 patients with sensory neuropathy. LEPs often disclosed subclinical dysfunction of Adelta fibres and proved a sensitive and reliable diagnostic tool for assessing small-fibre function in sensory neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Lasers*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / radiation effects
  • Nerve Fibers, Unmyelinated / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers, Unmyelinated / radiation effects
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Physical Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Physical Stimulation / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / radiation effects
  • Somatosensory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatosensory Disorders / physiopathology