Use of Nerve Conduction Assessments to Evaluate Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Nonclinical Species—A Brief Review

Jamie K. DaSilva, Joseph C. Arezzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is subject to a wide range of structural and functional insults including direct damage to axons, loss of myelin, and progressive deficits in saltatory conduction. Drugs that damage the PNS often result in neuropathies that impact the structure and function of targeted nerves. In most cases, both sensory and motor neurons are affected with damage initially evident in the distal extremities. Drug-induced neuropathies are potentially reversible following cessation of treatment, but early stages of neuropathy can be subclinical and asymptomatic making diagnosis difficult. Nerve biopsy is highly validated and provides definitive evidence of nerve injury and corresponding severity; however, it is limited in some respects and electrophysiological measures can complement histopathological assessments and provide a functional measure of potential toxicity. In a drug development setting, nerve conduction assessments are valuable to monitor nerve function longitudinally if nerve damage is suspected or confirmed, and importantly, can be used to monitor progression and/or recovery of a drug-induced neuropathy. This review will summarize the methodology used in nerve conduction assessments as well as discuss data interpretation and considerations for use in nonclinical species. Finally, the use of nerve conduction assessments in nonclinical drug development is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalToxicologic Pathology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • drug development
  • electrophysiology
  • nerve conduction
  • peripheral neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology

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