Pathological changes of human unmyelinated nerve fibers: a review


  • Takashi Kanda


unmyelinated nerve fiber, sural nerve, collagen pocket, schwann cell, empty subunit


In the cutaneous nerves, unmyelinated nerve fibers outnumber the myelinated ones but are scarcely analyzed, especially at autopsy. This indifference toward the pathology of unmyelinated nerve fibers may be due to the necessity of electron microscopic analyses and, more importantly, the obscurity of pathological alteration of unmyelinated nerve fibers in aging as well as in peripheral nerve disorders. The aim of this article is to review (1) the normal appearance including postmortem changes, (2) the age-related changes, and (3) the pathological alteration in various neuropathic and nonneuropathic conditions, of unmyelinated nerve fibers in the sural nerve. For the complete analyses of sural nerve, qualitative and quantitative estimation of unmyelinated nerve fibers in all specimens should be recommended and it sometimes has an important diagnostic value.




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