Deep phenotyping neuropathy: An underestimated complication in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes associated with albuminuria

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2018 Dec;146:191-201. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Aims: The aim of the study was to assess whether quantitative-sensory-testing could be used to evaluate prevalence and predictors of diabetic neuropathy (DPNP) in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Twenty-eight pre-diabetics and 108 patients with type 2 diabetes were evaluated using neuropathy-deficit-score (NDS), neuropathy-symptom-score (NSS), nerve-conduction-studies (NCS), short-QST-protocol to examine small fibers and the comprehensive QST-battery (long-QST) according to the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain protocol.

Results: Long-QST revealed a DPNP-prevalence of 71% in pre-diabetics and 95% in patients with type 2 diabetes, while according to NDS it was only 11% and 63%, and NCS missed 58% of patients with DPNP. Small and medium fibers were similarly affected in both groups, while large fiber deficits were significantly more common in type 2 diabetes (p < 0.01). Complete loss of function in all fibers was significantly higher in patients with type 2 diabetes than in pre-diabetics (26% vs. 11%, p < 0.05). Hyperalgesia was slightly increased in pre-diabetes than in type 2 diabetes (57% vs. 43%, p = n.s.). However, NSS only showed significant associations with large fiber deficits. Logistic regression analyses revealed that age (OR 1.14[1.05/1.24]) and albuminuria (OR 12.8[1.52/107.3]) were independent predictors for the presence of DPNP.

Conclusions: DPNP is much more prevalent in patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes and clinical routine tests may miss the majority of affected patients. Age and albuminuria, but not HbA1c, appear to be significantly associated with DPNP.

Clinical trial registration: NCT03022721.

Keywords: Diabetic neuropathy; Nerve fiber function; Pre-diabetes; Type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prediabetic State / complications*
  • Prediabetic State / pathology

Associated data