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Eur J Pharmacol. 1995 Aug 15;281(3):303-9.

Nerve function in galactosaemic rats: effects of evening primrose oil and doxazosin.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Marischal College, Scotland, UK.


Rats were fed for 6 weeks with a 40% galactose diet to chronically stimulate the polyol pathway. Sciatic motor and saphenous sensory nerve conduction velocity deficits of 22% and 14% respectively developed. Treatment with evening primrose oil or doxazosin from galactosaemia induction partially (approximately 60%) prevented the development of reduced motor and sensory conduction, the former treatment being more successful than the latter. Sciatic nerve resistance to hypoxic conduction failure was 49% increased by galactosaemia. This abnormality was 27% and 43% prevented by doxazosin and evening primrose oil respectively. Galactosaemic sciatic nerves had a 10% increase in water content and endoneurial capillary density was 24% reduced. While neither treatment affected water content, both caused angiogenesis, elevating capillary density by approximately 16%. The data support the hypothesis that, as in experimental diabetes mellitus, the main effect of polyol pathway activation on peripheral nerve function occurs indirectly via a neurovascular action.

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