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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Nov 21;445(3):220-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.08.087. Epub 2008 Sep 5.

Pressure pain precedes development of type 2 disease in Zucker rat model of diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


Decreased hind limb pressure pain threshold (PPT) is an early indicator of insulinopenia and neuropathy developing in STZ-rat models of type 1 diabetes and pre-diabetes. To test if pain on pressure is also a hallmark of compensated insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in this work we measured PPT of Zucker lean (ZL), Zucker fatty (ZF) and Zucker fatty diabetic rats (ZDF; 8 animals per group). Using clinically accepted cut-off values for diagnosis of human diabetes and pre-diabetes, at 6th week of age (the study entry), all animals maintained random blood glucose within a normal range (< 7.9 mM). Over the following 4 weeks, the random glucose remained normal in lean and ZF rats; it however crossed 11 mM cut-off for the diagnosis of diabetes in all ZDF rats. With no detectable relation to blood glucose levels or changes throughout the study, lean, ZF and ZDF rats maintained respectively highest, intermediate and lowest PPT levels (83+/-1, 70+/-1 and 59+/-1 g; mean values for all tests per group). Thus in Zucker rat model, type 2 diabetes-associated impairment of nerve function precedes the development of hyperglycemia. Furthermore, since normoglycemic, but displaying decreased PPT, ZF rats were strongly hyperinsulinemic (plasma insulin concentration 30+/-4 ng/ml vs. 2.4+/-0.3 ng/ml in lean rats) these data suggest that hyperinsulinemia compensating for glucose metabolism might not restore compromised nerve function.

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