Degeneration of intra-epidermal nerve fibers (IENF)

Newsletter # 23



Animal models

Similar to the clinical peripheral neuropathy in man, the degeneration of intra-epidermal nerve fibers (IENF) can be monitored and quantified in various animal models of peripheral neuropathy.

NEUROFIT is a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) specialising in the evaluation of treatments for peripheral and central nervous system disorders.
NEUROFIT offers a long list of in vivo and in vitro validated methods and disease models for drug screening.

  • NEUROFIT offers on fee-for-service basis the quantification IENF in rat skin biopsies as a robust and cost-effective assay to evaluate:



  • Black arrows indicate IENF
    White arrowheads indicate dermal nerve bundles

  • NEUROFIT offers on fee-for-service basis the quantification IENF in rat skin biopsies as a robust and cost-effective assay to evaluate:

    the peripheral neuropathy as a result of a potential side-effect of a drug treatment (safety profiling of drug candidates)
    the neuroprotective effect of drug therapy as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy (preclinical efficacy testing)

    See examples of NEUROFIT data regarding the :

    Diabetic neuropathy
    Paclitaxel-related neuropathy
    Dideoxycytidine-related neuropathy

  • Many drugs and toxins have been reported to induce peripheral neuropathies. Often, this adverse effect requires the withdrawal of the treatment.


    Example of drugs:
    Chemotherapy agents (Paclitaxel, Vincristine, Cisplatin ...)
    Anti-HIV therapy (Nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors)
    Antibiotic (Metronidazole)

  • Degeneration of intraepidermal nerve fibers (IENF) is also found in neuropathies associated with metabolic (diabetes), infectious (HIV/AIDS) and autoimmune (vasculitis) diseases.


    Degeneration of IENF is a sensitive clinical marker to evaluate the severity of peripheral neuropathies. Loss of IENF is observed in both symptomatic or asymptomatic peripheral neuropathies.



  • Diabetic neuropathy
    Groups Mean sem n
    Non-diabetic rats 75.667 2.014 5
    Diabetic rats (day 21 post-STZ) 44.708 6.161 5
    Diabetic rats (day 41 post-STZ) 15.552 0.857 4
  • Paclitaxel-related neuropathy
    Dideoxycytidine-related neuropathy
    Drugs Rat strain Treatment regimen Timepoints IENF density
    (n/mm)
    sem n p-value
    (t-test)
    Placebo (Saline)
    Dideoxycytidine
    (50 mg/kg; i.v.)
    Sprague-Dawley
    Sprague-Dawley
    1 single i.v Day 8
    Day 8
    80.4
    56.0
    2.1
    4
    6
    5

    0.01
    Placebo (Saline)
    Paclitaxel
    (2 mg/kg; i.p.)
    Sprague-Dawley
    Sprague-Dawley
    4 injections every other day Day 31
    Day 31
    76.03
    58.7
    1
    7
    3
    5

    0.0202


NEUROFIT offers a range of validated in vitro and in vivo screening tests for psychiatry and neurology.

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