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Diabetologia. 1998 Nov;41(11):1321-6.

Inhibitory effect of troglitazone on diabetic neuropathy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Free-radical scavengers and inhibitors of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) such as N-acetylcysteine and pentoxifylline have been shown to inhibit the development of peripheral neuropathy in streptozotocin(STZ)-induced diabetic rats. In this study we examined the effect of troglitazone, an anti-diabetic thiazolidinedione, on diabetic neuropathy, since it also is a free-radical scavenger and a TNF-alpha inhibitor. Rats were fed powder chow mixed with troglitazone at 0.5% and 0.125% ad libitum. Although blood glucose concentrations were remarkably higher and body weight lower in diabetic than in nondiabetic rats, troglitazone had no effect on these throughout the 24-week experiment. Serum lipoperoxide concentrations, tibial nerve lipoperoxide content and serum TNF-alpha activity induced by lipopolysaccharide was increased in diabetic rats, but inhibited in troglitazone-treated rats. Motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) of the tibial nerve slowed in diabetic rats, compared with that in nondiabetic rats. On the other hand, the slowed MNCV was (p < 0.05-0.01) inhibited after weeks 12 and 16 of the experiment in diabetic rats treated with high and low doses of troglitazone, respectively. Morphometric analysis showed that troglitazone suppressed the decrease of the myelinated fibre area (p < 0.05), axon/myelin ratio (p < 0.01) and fascicular area (p < 0.05) and suppressed the increase of myelinated fibre density (p < 0.001) in diabetic rats. These results indicate that troglitazone has a beneficial effect on peripheral neuropathy in STZ-induced diabetic rats irrespective of blood glucose concentrations.

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