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Open Access Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemic Peripheral Motor Neuropathy in Spontaneously Diabetic WBN/Kob Rats

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Intensive insulin therapy can lead to hypoglycemia, with patients sometimes developing hypoglycemic neuropathy. Spontaneously diabetic Wistar Bonn Kobori (WBN/Kob) rats develop diabetic peripheral motor neuropathy characterized by segmental demyelination and axonal degeneration. We examined the short-term effects of hypoglycemia on neuropathic changes in these rats. Spontaneous diabetic WBN/Kob rats received insulin implants for 40 d and were divided into 3 groups based on blood glucose levels: group N, normoglycemic to slightly hyperglycemic (150 to 250 mg/dL); group H, hypoglycemic to slightly hyperglycemic (50 to 200 mg/dL); and group D, nontreated spontaneously diabetic (350 to 420 mg/dL). Conduction velocity was measured in sciatic–tibial motor nerves; these nerves also underwent qualitative and quantitative histomorphologic analysis. Conduction velocity was not significantly different in N, D, and H groups. Morphologic analysis of the sciatic nerves of H rats showed severe changes, including axonal degeneration, myelin distention, and endoneurial fibrosis, that tended to occur in large, myelinated fibers. N and D rats showed relatively mild changes. The degree and distribution of degenerated nerve fibers in H rats were significantly higher than in N and D rats. These results suggest that hypoglycemia of less than 50 mg/dL induced severe peripheral neuropathy. Hypoglycemic lesions differed from the hyperglycemic lesions in diabetic WBN/Kob rats. This rat strain is an appropriate model for investigating the hypoglycemic peripheral neuropathy that can be associated with a diabetic condition.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Setsunan University, Osaka, Japan. 2: Department of Pathology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Setsunan University, Osaka, Japan

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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