Medial arterial calcification and diabetic neuropathy

Acta Diabetol Lat. Jul-Sep 1990;27(3):243-53. doi: 10.1007/BF02581336.


The aim of this study was to detect linear arterial calcification (Mönckeberg's sclerosis) localized in feet, ankles, legs, knees and hands in an attempt to correlate the extent of calcification with the presence and severity of autonomic neuropathy as well as with microangiopathy (proliferative retinopathy, proteinuria greater than 200 mg/die) and peripheral neuropathy. Typical linear calcification were observed in 37 out of 41 (90.2%) patients with autonomic neuropathy and in none of those without autonomic neuropathy (p less than 0.001). These 37 patients were divided into two subgroups by cluster analysis: Subgroup A, including 18 subjects with calcification length ranging from 8 to 26 cm and moderate autonomic neuropathy, and Subgroup B, including 19 subjects with calcification length between 58 and 126 cm and severe autonomic neuropathy (p less than 0.0001 by Spearman's test). No difference in the length of arterial calcification was detected between patients with proteinuria greater than 200 mg/24h and/or proliferative retinopathy and patients without these complications. A possible relationship between arterial calcification and peripheral neuropathy is difficult to evaluate; in fact, the majority of subjects having autonomic neuropathy had peripheral neuropathy, too. Vice versa, around 10% of patients without peripheral neuropathy but with autonomic neuropathy did not have Mönckeberg's sclerosis. Autonomic neuropathy is the principal factor responsible for calcification of the arterial media, and in addition the severity of the neuropathy, rather than the patient's age or the known disease duration seems to determine the extent of calcification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteries / pathology*
  • Calcinosis / complications*
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / complications*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / pathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged