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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Sep 28;1537(2):110-6.

Fluidity of the myelin sheath in the peripheral nerves of diabetic rats.

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Department of Physics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia.


In the present study we examined the structural integrity of the myelin sheath in the peripheral nerves from short-term streptozotocin (STZ)-treated diabetic rats, using ESR spectroscopy as a tool in determining the dynamic state and the structure of the myelin lipid phase. Experiments were performed on spin-labeled sciatic and sural nerves from STZ-treated Hannover-Wistar rats and age-matched controls. The spectrum analysis employed a numerical simulation model with the set of fitting parameters that in the same time relate the ESR line shape and structure and dynamics of the probed environment. The simulation considered three spectral components weighted and summed in the composite spectrum. The comparative analysis of results showed the fraction of the spectral component II to be significantly increased in the spectra of diabetic rats, indicating the significant increase in overall fluidity of the myelin structure. The origin of fluidity changes was further investigated using an experimental model for demyelination (local injection of ethidium bromide in vivo), proteolytic action of trypsin in vitro, and osmotic myelin swelling in vitro. Analysis and comparison of the results suggested a conclusion in terms of changed biophysical properties of the myelin lipid phase in peripheral nerves in the pathology of diabetes.

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