Assessment of tibial and common peroneal nerves in diabetic peripheral neuropathy by diffusion tensor imaging: a case control study

Chao Wu, Guangbin Wang, Yunxia Zhao, Wen Hao, Lianxin Zhao, Xinjuan Zhang, Jinfeng Cao, Shanshan Wang, Weibo Chen, Queenie Chan, Bin Zhao, Avneesh Chhabra
European Radiology 2017, 27 (8): 3523-3531

OBJECTIVES: To determine the diagnostic accuracy and interobserver performance of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and detect correlations with electrophysiology.

METHODS: Twelve healthy volunteers (controls) and ten DPN patients were enrolled to undergo MR examinations. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of tibial nerve (TN) and common peroneal nerve (CPN) were measured. Unpaired t test and Levene tests were performed to assess differences between the two groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed for FA and ADC values. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to assess the correlation between DTI and electrophysiology parameters in the patient group.

RESULTS: The FA values of TN and CPN in the DPN group were significantly lower and ADC were higher than the control group (p < 0.05). Interobserver agreement was excellent. FA positively correlated and ADC negatively correlated with motor nerve conduction velocity (MCV) (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between motor nerve conduction amplitude and DTI parameters (p > 0.05). Moderate diagnostic accuracy of DTI was seen in the diagnosis of DPN.

CONCLUSIONS: DTI demonstrates moderate diagnostic accuracy and excellent interobserver performance in the detection of DPN involving the TN and CPN. There is moderate correlation with MCV.

KEY POINTS: • FA values of TN and CPN are significantly lower in DPN. • ADC values of TN and CPN are significantly higher in DPN. • DTI demonstrates moderate diagnostic accuracy in detection of DPN. • There is excellent interobserver performance in DTI measurements. • Moderate correlation is seen between DTI parameters and MCV.

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