New method of sudomotor function measurement to detect microvascular disease and sweat gland nerve or unmyelinated C fiber dysfunction in adults with retinopathy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Diabetes-associated microvascular complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy often lead to end-organ and tissue damage. Impaired skin microcirculation often precedes the detection of other advanced diabetic complications. The ANS-1 system contains a redesigned sympathetic skin response (ANS-1 SSR) device that measures sudomotor function, a photoplethysmography sensor, and a blood pressure device to comprehensively assess cardiac autonomic neuropathy and endothelial dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between the ANS-1 SSR amplitude measured at the: (a) negative electrode (Nitric Oxide [NO] Sweat Peak) with microvascular diseases and associated vascular blood markers and (b) positive electrode (iSweat Peak) with C fiber function.All participants (healthy controls n = 50 and retinopathy patients n = 50) completed the ANS-1 system evaluation and a basic sociodemographic and medical history questionnaire, including a quality of life measure (SF-36). A small sample of blood was drawn to determine levels of homocysteine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), C-reactive protein (CRP), and fibrinogen. Symptoms of peripheral foot neuropathy were assessed with a scale from 1 (none) to 10 (the worst). We used Spearman rank correlations, independent samples t-tests, and receiver operating characteristic curves to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the NO Sweat Peak as a potential screening marker of retinopathy.The ANS-1 System Cardiometabolic Risk Score and all indicators of quality of life on the SF-36, other than Emotional Role Functioning, were significantly worse in the retinopathy patients. The sudomotor response marker NO Sweat Peak had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 68% (Area Under the Curve = 0.81, p < 0.0001) to detect retinopathy. The NO Sweat Peak response marker inversely correlated with BUN (ρ = -0.41, p < 0.0001), homocysteine (ρ = -0.44, p < 0.0001), fibrinogen (ρ = -0.41, p < 0.0001), the Cardiac Autonomic Neuropathy score (ρ = -0.68, p < 0.0001), and the heart rate variability Total Power (ρ = -0.57, p < 0.0001), and it positively correlated with the Photoplethysmography Index (PTGi; ρ = 0.53 p < 0.0001). The ANS-1 system sudomotor response marker iSweat Peak inversely correlated with the severity of symptoms on the peripheral neuropathy scale (ρ = -0.56, p < 0.0001).The results of the study show that this new method of measuring sympathetic skin response should be useful for detecting the earliest manifestations of microvascular disease and symptoms of C fiber dysfunction.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017