IENF

  • Presentation


    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 implements this translational test to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of drug therapy as a treatment for peripheral neuropathy but also to study the peripheral neuropathy as a result of a potential side-effect of a drug treatment.



  • 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)

    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

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