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J Auton Nerv Syst. 1996 May 6;58(3):163-9.

Enteric neuropeptides in streptozotocin-diabetic rats; effects of insulin and aldose reductase inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, UK.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether diabetes-induced changes in the distribution of enteric neuropeptides, could be prevented in 12-week streptozotocin-diabetic rats, by rigorous control of glycaemia, using daily adminstration of insulin, or an aldose reductase inhibitor (ponalrestat). The pattern of distribution of nerve fibres and cell bodies, containing immunoreactive vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), galanin (GAL), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P was examined in the myenteric plexus of ileum from control, untreated diabetic, insulin-treated diabetic and aldose reductase inhibitor-treated diabetic rats. The increase in VIP- and GAL-like immunoreactivity, seen in the myenteric plexus of untreated diabetic rat ileum, was not present in the myenteric plexus of ileum from insulin- and aldose reductase inhibitor-treated diabetic rats. With CGRP-like immunoreactive fibres, there was a clear decrease in the ileum of untreated diabetic rats. This was prevented by insulin treatment, but aldose reductase inhibitor treatment had no effect. No alterations in substance P-like immunoreactivity were seen in the myenteric plexus of ileum from any of the groups investigated. Generally, the similarity of effect of ponalrestat and insulin on VIP and galanin expression in this study supports a primary effect of insulin via glycaemic control. The dissimilarity of the effect of the two treatments on CGRP expression may imply a neurotrophic effect of insulin, although there are certainly consequences of hyperglycaemia other than exaggerated flux through the polyol pathway.

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