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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1043:784-92.

Inhibitors of advanced glycation end product formation and neurovascular dysfunction in experimental diabetes.

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School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK.


Advanced glycation and lipoxidation end products (AGEs/ALEs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the major microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus: nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy. This article reviews the evidence regarding the peripheral nerve and its vascular supply. Most investigations done to assess the role of AGEs/ALEs in animal models of diabetic neuropathy have used aminoguanidine as a prototypic inhibitor. Preventive or intervention experiments have shown treatment benefits for motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity, autonomic nitrergic neurotransmission, nerve morphometry, and nerve blood flow. The latter depends on improvements in nitric oxide-mediated endothelium-dependent vasodilation and is responsible for conduction velocity improvements. A mechanistic interpretation of aminoguanidine's action in terms of AGE/ALE inhibition is made problematic by the relative lack of specificity. However, other unrelated compounds, such as pyridoxamine and pyridoxamine analogues, have recently been shown to have beneficial effects similar to aminoguanidine, as well as to improve pain-related measures of thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia. These data also stress the importance of redox metal ion-catalyzed AGE/ALE formation. A further approach is to decrease substrate availability by reducing the elevated levels of hexose and triose phosphates found in diabetes. Benfotiamine is a transketolase activator that directs these substrates to the pentose phosphate pathway, thus reducing tissue AGEs. A similar spectrum of improvements in nerve and vascular function were noted when using benfotiamine in diabetic rats. Taken together, the data provide strong support for an important role for AGEs/ALEs in the etiology of diabetic neuropathy.

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