The Quest for more Research on Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Neuroscience. 2018 Sep 1;387:28-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.09.023. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


A 62-year-old diabetologist diagnosed himself to have diabetes type-2, with an HbA1c of 9.5. Five months after lifestyle intervention and a multi-drug approach, HbA1c was 6.3, systolic blood pressure was below 135mmHg and BMI reduced to 27. But he suffered from severe painful diabetic neuropathy. Therefore he decided to visit his friend, a famous neuroscientist at an even more famous university. He asked him several plain questions: 1. What is the natural course of painful diabetic neuropathy? 2. Why do I have, despite almost normalizing HbA1c, more problems than before? 3. Are you sure my problems are due to diabetes or should we do a nerve biopsy? 4. Are there imaging techniques helpful for the diagnosis of this diabetic complication, starting in the distal nerve endings of the foot and slowly moving ahead? 5. Can you suggest any drug, specific and effective, for relieving painful diabetic neuropathy? This review will use the experts' answers to the questions of the diabetologist, not only to give a summary of the current knowledge, but even more to highlight areas of research needed for improving the fate of patients with painful diabetic neuropathy. Based on the unknowns, which exceed the knowns in diabetic neuropathy, a quest for more public support of research is made.

Keywords: painful diabetic neuropathy; patho-mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Pain / complications*