Vascular endothelial growth factor gene transfer for diabetic polyneuropathy: a randomized, double-blinded trial.

Ann Neurol. 2009 Apr; 65(4):386-93;

Ropper AH, Gorson KC, Gooch CL, Weinberg DH, Pieczek A, Ware JH, Kershen J, Rogers A, Simovic D, Schratzberger P, Kirchmair R, Losordo D.

Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA. [email protected]

OBJECTIVE: Randomized, blinded trial of intramuscular gene transfer using plasmid vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to treat diabetic polyneuropathy. METHODS: Diabetic patients with polyneuropathy were randomized to receive a VEGF-to-placebo ratio of 3:1. Three sets of injections were given at eight standardized sites adjacent to the sciatic, peroneal, and tibial nerves of one leg. Primary outcomes were change in symptom score at 6 months and a prespecified overall clinical and electrophysiological improvement score. Secondary outcomes were differences in symptoms, examination scores, visual analog pain scale, nerve conduction, and quantitative sensory testing. RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients received plasmid VEGF and 11 received placebo. Mean symptom score improved in both legs at 6 months, favoring VEGF over placebo (-1.2 +/- 0.5 vs -0.9 +/- 0.5; p < 0.01 after adjustment for change in the untreated leg) and compared with the untreated leg (-0.7 +/- 0.5; p = 0.02). The region of sensory loss and visual analog pain scale improved in the treated group (-1.5 vs -0.5; p = 0.01). Twelve of 39 VEGF versus 2 of 11 placebo patients met criterion for overall improvement. Other measures including nerve conduction potentials did not improve. There were 84 adverse events in VEGF patients, and 22 were serious; there were 51 events in placebo patients, and 2 were serious. INTERPRETATION: Intramuscular plasmid VEGF gene transfer improved diabetic neuropathic symptoms, meeting primary end-point criteria for efficacy but not affecting most secondary measures. Treatment was associated with more serious adverse events that did not reach statistical significance. These results are not conclusive but may justify further clinical study.

PMID: 19399887 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Medical illustrations on this website are attributed to: and author Kjpargeter

Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve


– Anatomy:    

– LFCN, as its name suggests, is purely sensory;    
– it arises from L2 and L3, travels downward lateral to the psoas muscle, crosses the iliacus muscle (deep to fascia), passes either thru or underneath the lateral aspect of the inguinal ligament, and finally travels onto innervate the lateral thigh;
– it divides into anterior and posterior branches and supplies skin on lateral aspect of thigh;
– in the study by Hospodar et al (JTO 1999), the course of the nerve was variable, but was most commonly found at 10-15 mm from the ASIS and as far medially as 46 mm from the ASIS;
– in no specimen did the nerve pass lateral to the ASIS (eventhough historically the nerve is thought to pass lateral to the ASIS in 10% of population);
– in all specimens the nerve passed underneath the ilioginal ligament and anterior to the iliacus muscle; 

– Meralgia Paresthetica: 

– entrapment syndrome of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve causing burning, numbness, and paresthesias down the proximal-lateral aspect of the thigh;
– may be idiopathic, be a result of trauma, previous operations, and in some cases may arise from Perthes Disease abduction splints;
– in idiopathic cases, the nerve may be encased in bone by the growing apophysis of the anterior superior iliac spine, or may be entrapped in fascia either proximal or distal to the ASIS;    
– diagnosis is made by:           
– reproduction of the pain by deep palpation just below the anterior superior iliac spine and by hip extension;           
– relief of pain by localized injection of lidocaine;    
– treatment: when diagnosis is not in doubt and the symptoms are severe, consider operative decompression at the site of constriction;


Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are tests that measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. Nerves send out electrical signals to make your muscles react in certain ways. Nerves also send signals from your skin to your brain, which then processes the signals, so you can experience a variety of skin sensations.

  • An EMG Test looks at the electrical signals your muscles make when they are at rest and when they are being used.
  • A Nerve Conduction Study measures how fast and how well the body’s electrical signals travel along your nerves. EMG and nerve conduction studies are used to help diagnose a variety of muscle and nerve disorders and to quantify the severity of your condition.

An EMG test helps find out if muscles are responding the right way to nerve signals. Nerve conduction studies help diagnose nerve damage or disease. When EMG tests and nerve conduction studies are done together, they help doctors tell if your symptoms are caused by a muscle disorder or a nerve problem. With EMG and NCS studies, your doctor can next select the best therapeutic option to help you.