Low sensitivity of skin biopsy in diagnosing small fiber neuropathy in Chinese Americans

Peter Jin, Ling Cheng, Ming Chen, Lan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare skin biopsy sensitivity for diagnosing small fiber sensory neuropathy in Chinese American and non-Chinese American patients. Methods: We screened our skin biopsy database and performed chart review to identify Chinese and non- Chinese American patients with a high clinical suspicion for a distal small fiber sensory neuropathy, and compared the skin biopsy sensitivity. Results: Twenty-three Chinese American and 32 non- Chinese American patients with the presence of distal small fiber sensory symptoms and signs were studied. Intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) (fibers/mm) at the distal leg was higher (7.1 ± 3.9), and the diagnostic sensitivity using the worldwide normative reference values of IENFD at the distal leg was lower (26.1%) in the Chinese American group than in the non-Chinese American group (5.1 ± 3.0, P < 0.05; 62.5%, P < 0.05). Conclusions: There may be ethnic differences in IENFD at the distal leg, and a different set of IENFD normative values may be developed for ethnic Chinese to improve the skin biopsy sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Ethnic differences
  • Intraepidermal nerve fiber density
  • Normative values
  • Skin biopsy
  • Small fiber sensory neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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