Enteric cholinergic neuropathy in patients with diabetes: Non-invasive assessment with positron emission tomography

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BACKGROUND: 11 C-Donepezil positron emission tomography (PET) allows non-invasive assessment of cholinergic innervation of visceral organs. We aimed to compare cholinergic innervation in the gut in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and in healthy controls (HC).

METHODS: 11 C-Donepezil PET and computed tomography (CT) were performed in 19 patients with type 1 DM and gastrointestinal symptoms and in 19 age- and sex-matched HC in a cross-sectional design.

KEY RESULTS: All patients had severe gastrointestinal symptoms when assessed by standard questionnaires. DM patients had significantly increased volume of the small intestinal wall (DM: median 557 cm3 [interquartile range [IQR] 446-697] vs HC median: 448 cm3 [IQR; 341-518; P < .01]), and the 11 C Donepezil PET uptake was reduced in patients (DM: median 7.08 standardized uptake value [SUV] [IQR; 5.94-8.43] vs HC: median 9.18 SUV [IQR; 8.57-10.11; P < .01]). A similar pattern was found in colon (DM: median volume 1064 cm3 [IQR; 882-1312] vs HC: median 939 cm3 [IQR; 785-1081; P = .13] and DM: median 1.22 SUV (IQR; 1.08-1.36) vs HC: median 1.42 SUV (IQR; 1.32-1.53; P = .03). Furthermore, patients had significantly reduced pancreatic volume (DM: median 53 cm3 [IQR; 41-69] vs HC: median 98 cm3 [IQR;82-110; P < .01]) and reduced PET uptake of the pancreas (DM: median 13.14 SUV [IQR;9.58-15.82] vs HC: median 21.46 SUV [IQR;18.97-24.06; P < .01]) as well as the adrenal gland (DM: median 7.62 SUV [IQR;7.61;15.82] vs HC: median 15.51 SUV [IQR;12.22;19.49; P = .03]).

CONCLUSION AND INFERENCES: Assessed with 11 C-Donepezil PET/CT, patients with DM and severe bowel symptoms have reduced cholinergic innervation of the gut indicative of parasympathetic denervation.

TidsskriftNeurogastroenterology and Motility
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2020

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