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Original Article In vivo Corneal Confocal Microscopy and Nerve Growth Factor in Diabetic Microvascular Complications.
Ji Sun Nam, Young Jae Cho, Tae Woong Noh, Chul Sik Kim, Jong Suk Park, Min ho Cho, Hai Jin Kim, Ji Eun Yoon, Han Young Jung, Eun Seok Kang, Yu Mie Rhee, Hyung Keun Lee, Chul Woo Ahn, Bong Soo Cha, Eun Jig Lee, Sung Kil Lim, Kyung Rae Kim, Hyun Chul Lee
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal 2007;31(4):351-361
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4093/jkda.2007.31.4.351
Published online: July 1, 2007
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1Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine.
2Department of Opthalmology, Yonsei University College of Medicine.

BACKGROUND
In vivo corneal confocal microscopy (IVCCM) is being recognized as a non-invasive, early diagnostic tool for diabetic neuropathy, for it provides a clear image of corneal subbasal nerve plexus in detail. Nerve growth factors (NGF) are believed to regulate peripheral and central nervous system, neuronal differentiation, and regeneration of damaged nerves, and their role in diabetic neuropathy is being emphasized these days. Moreover, NGFs and receptors are also expressed in retina and renal mesangial cells, suggesting their possible role in the common pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular complications. We plan to examine corneal structures of diabetic patients and compare IVCCM with conventional tools and analyze their serum and tear NGF levels. METHODS: IVCCM, nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and serum, urine, and tear samplings were done to 42 diabetic patients. From IVCCM, we measured corneal nerve density, branch, and tortuosity, total corneal/epithelial thickness, and the number of endothelial/keratocyte cells, and we checked patients' biochemical profiles and serum and tear NGF levels. RESULTS: Patients with more severe neuropathy had less corneal endothelial cells (3105 +/- 218 vs. 2537 +/- 142 vs. 2350 +/- 73/mm3 vs. 1914 +/- 465/mm3, P = 0.02), higher serum NGF (36 +/- 15 vs. 60 +/- 57.66 vs. 80 +/- 57.63 vs. 109 +/- 60.81 pg/mL, P = 0.39) and tear NGF levels (135.00 +/- 11.94 vs. 304.29 +/- 242.44 vs. 538.50 +/- 251.92 vs. 719.50 +/- 92.63 pg/mL, P = 0.01). There was a positive correlation between neuropathy and corneal nerve tortuosity (r2 = 0.479, P = 0.044) and negative correlation between neuropathy and endothelial cell count (r2 = -0.709, P = 0.002). Interestingly, similar changes were seen in other microvascular complications as well. CONCLUSION: Our results provide a possibility of using novel tools, IVCCM and NGF, as common diagnostic tools for diabetic microvascular complications, but it should be followed by a large population study.

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    In vivo Corneal Confocal Microscopy and Nerve Growth Factor in Diabetic Microvascular Complications.
    Korean Diabetes J. 2007;31(4):351-361.   Published online July 1, 2007
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Nam JS, Cho YJ, Noh TW, Kim CS, Park JS, Cho Mh, Kim HJ, Yoon JE, Jung HY, Kang ES, Rhee YM, Lee HK, Ahn CW, Cha BS, Lee EJ, Lim SK, Kim KR, Lee HC. In vivo Corneal Confocal Microscopy and Nerve Growth Factor in Diabetic Microvascular Complications.. Diabetes Metab J. 2007;31(4):351-361.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4093/jkda.2007.31.4.351.

Diabetes Metab J : Diabetes & Metabolism Journal