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Keywords:

  • neuropathy;
  • small fiber neuropathy;
  • sweat gland nerve fibers;
  • sweat testing;
  • skin biopsy

ABSTRACT

Introduction: No study has correlated thermoregulatory sweat testing (TST) with histopathologic study of sweat glands (SGs) and SG nerve fibers (SGNFs). Methods: We studied 10 neuropathy patients in whom anhidrosis was found by TST and 10 matched controls. Skin biopsies were taken from both anhidrotic and sweating skin and immunohistochemical staining was done for nerves and basement membrane. For each biopsy, total tissue volume, total SG volume, and total SGNF length were measured. SGNF length per biopsy volume, SG volume per biopsy volume (SG%), and SGNF length per SG volume were calculated. Results: SGNF length per biopsy volume was reduced in anhidrotic site biopsies of patients compared with controls. SG% was decreased and SGNF length per SG volume increased in patients compared with controls. Conclusions: The results suggest a concomitant loss of SG volume and SGNF length in neuropathy, with greater loss of SGNFs in anhidrotic skin, possibly exceeding collateral reinnervation. Muscle Nerve 50: 528–534, 2014