Improvement in chronic ischemic neuropathy after intramuscular phVEGF165 gene transfer in patients with critical limb ischemia.

Arch Neurol 2001 May;58(5):761-8

Simovic D, Isner JM, Ropper AH, Pieczek A, Weinberg DH.

St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, 736 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02135, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor gene therapy on ischemic neuropathy in patients with critical limb ischemia. DESIGN: An open-label, dose-escalating trial. Patients with angiographically proven critical leg ischemia received injections of phVEGF(165) human plasmid in the muscles of the ischemic limb. Testing before treatment and at 3 and 6 months included (1) symptom severity score, (2) clinical examination score, and (3) electrophysiologic studies. Clinical and electrophysiologic examiners were masked to each other’s findings. SETTING: A tertiary care referral hospital and a major teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass. RESULTS: Of 29 consecutive patients enrolled, 17 (19 limbs) completed the 6 months of study. Six patients had diabetes. Compared with baseline studies, treated patients had significant clinical improvements in the symptom score (P<.01), sensory examination score (P<.01), total examination score (P =.01), peroneal motor amplitude (P =.03), and quantitative vibration threshold (P =.04). Improvement in the vascular ankle-brachial index in treated legs (P<.01) corresponded to improvement in neuropathy in the same limb. Neurologic improvement was seen in 4 of 6 patients with diabetes who completed the study. No clinical, electrophysiologic, or vascular improvements were observed in untreated legs. CONCLUSIONS: Ischemic neuropathy might be a reversible condition, and therapeutic angiogenesis might be an effective treatment. The presence of diabetes does not preclude a response to this therapy.

PMID: 11346371 [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.