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Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2009 May;379(5):445-52. doi: 10.1007/s00210-008-0387-3. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Macrophage depletion delays progression of neuropathic pain in diabetic animals.

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Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University, 01330 Balcali, Adana, Turkey.


Despite the fact that it is a frequent diabetic complication, the mechanisms underlying the manifestation of diabetic neuropathic pain remain poorly understood. In this study, we hypothesized that the depletion of peripheral macrophages with liposome-encapsulated clodronate (LEC) can prevent, at least delay, the progression of diabetes-induced neuropathic pain. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of macrophage depletion on mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced rat model of diabetic neuropathy. LEC was intravenously administrated to rats three times with 5-day intervals. A single intravenous injection of STZ caused an increase in the average blood glucose levels and a decrease in body weight. Although LEC treatment did not affect the body weight gain, the blood glucose level was lower and serum insulin level higher in LEC-treated diabetic rats than in that of diabetic rats. In addition, LEC treatment alleviated the excessive damage in beta cells in diabetic rats. Diabetic animals displayed marked mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. While the treatment of diabetic rats with LEC did not significantly change the thermal withdrawal latency, diabetes-induced decrease in mechanical paw withdrawal threshold was significantly corrected by the LEC treatment. The results of this study show that thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia induced by diabetes may be associated with alterations in blood glucose level. Depletion of macrophages with LEC in diabetic rats may reduce mechanical allodynia without affecting thermal hyperalgesia. Taken together, these results suggested that depletion of macrophages in diabetes may partially postpone the development of diabetic neuropathic pain.

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