Diabetic peripheral neuropathy: A clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical analysis of sural nerve biopsies
We performed quantitative immunohistochemical studies of sural nerve biopsy specimens from 20 patients to determine whether endoneurial and epineurial lymphocytic infiltration occurs in diabetic nerves. The diabetic nerves contained a mean of 129 CD3+ cells per tissue section compared to 19 cells in patients with chronic neuropathy matched for the histologic severity of disease, and 0-5 cells in normal control nerves. The T-cell infiltrates in the diabetic nerves were predominantly of the CD8+ cell type. Activated endoneurial lymphocytes expressed immunoreactive cytokines and major histocompatibility class II antigens. Microvasculitis was found in 12 (60%) patients. Infiltrative T cells may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy through a variety of effector mechanisms.