Skin biopsy for the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy

G. Lauria, R. Lombardi, F. Camozzi, G. Devigili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lauria G, Lombardi R, Camozzi F & Devigili G(2009) Histopathology 54, 273-285Skin biopsy for the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy Skin biopsy has become an accepted tool for investigating small nerve fibres, which are invisible to conventional neurophysiological tests even though they are affected early on in peripheral neuropathies of varying aetiology. Morphometric analysis of epidermal and dermal nerves has proved to be reliable, reproducible and unaffected by the severity of neuropathy, making skin biopsy useful for diagnosing small fibre neuropathy (SFN) in clinical practice. The possibility of obtaining skin biopsy specimens from different sites of the body, to repeat them within the area of the same sensory nerve, to distinguish between somatic and autonomic nerves and to investigate the expression of nerve-related proteins has widened the potential applications of this technique to clinical research. Skin biopsy performed using a minimally invasive disposable punch is a safe and painless procedure. Using specific antibodies with bright-field immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence technique, it is possible to investigate unmyelinated fibres innervating the epidermis of hairy and glabrous skin, large myelinated fibres supplying specialized corpuscles in glabrous skin, and autonomic fibres innervating sweat glands, blood vessels and arrector pilorum muscles. This review discusses the features of skin innervation in hairy and glabrous skin, the functional properties of skin nerve fibres and their changes in peripheral neuropathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalHistopathology
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Fingerprint

Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Biopsy
Skin
Nerve Fibers
Autonomic Pathways
Sweat Glands
Epidermis
Fluorescent Antibody Technique
Blood Vessels
Immunohistochemistry
Muscles
Antibodies

Keywords

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nerve fibres
  • Neuropathy
  • Pain
  • Skin biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

Skin biopsy for the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. / Lauria, G.; Lombardi, R.; Camozzi, F.; Devigili, G.

In: Histopathology, Vol. 54, No. 3, 02.2009, p. 273-285.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lauria, G. ; Lombardi, R. ; Camozzi, F. ; Devigili, G. / Skin biopsy for the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy. In: Histopathology. 2009 ; Vol. 54, No. 3. pp. 273-285.
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