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Effect of diet‐induced obesity or type 1 or type 2 diabetes on corneal nerves and peripheral neuropathy in C57Bl/6J mice

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We determined the impact diet‐induced obesity (DIO) and types 1 and 2 diabetes have on peripheral neuropathy with emphasis on corneal nerve structural changes in C57Bl/6J mice. Endpoints examined included nerve conduction velocity, response to thermal and mechanical stimuli and innervation of the skin and cornea. DIO mice and to a greater extent type 2 diabetic mice were insulin resistant. DIO and both types 1 and 2 diabetic mice developed motor and sensory nerve conduction deficits. In the cornea of DIO and type 2 diabetic mice there was a decrease in sub‐epithelial corneal nerves, innervation of the corneal epithelium, and corneal sensitivity. Type 1 diabetic mice did not present with any significant changes in corneal nerve structure until after 20 weeks of hyperglycemia. DIO and type 2 diabetic mice developed corneal structural damage more rapidly than type 1 diabetic mice although hemoglobin A1C values were significantly higher in type 1 diabetic mice. This suggests that DIO with or without hyperglycemia contributes to development and progression of peripheral neuropathy and nerve structural damage in the cornea.
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Keywords: corneal confocal microscopy; corneal nerves; diabetes; diabetic peripheral neuropathy; obesity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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