We investigated whether progressive sensory neuropathy was accompanied by changes in whole-body insulin sensitivity (WBIS) in rats made diabetic by streptozotocin (STZ). The effects of early and late insulin supplementation were also studied. The STZ-treated rats failed to gain weight and exhibited stable hyperglycemia and low plasma insulin levels with a decrease in nerve conduction velocity (NCV) measured in A and C fibers of the saphenous nerve. A decreased sensory neuropeptide (SNP) release such as that of substance P, somatostatin, and calcitonin gene-related peptide determined from organ fluid of tracheal preparations subjected to electrical field stimulation also occurred in diabetic animals. These features were accompanied by a decrease in WBIS measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic glucose clamping and a decrease in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in cardiac and gastrocnemius muscle. When insulin supplementation with slow-release implants (2 IU/d) was started 4 weeks after STZ injection, blood glucose level normalized. Both insulin sensitivity and sensory nerve function reflected in either NCV or SNP release completely recovered by the 12th post-STZ week. When the insulin implants were applied from the eighth post-STZ week, both WBIS and glucose uptake remained significantly decreased, with a seriously impaired NCV and SNP release with strong hyperglycemia. Late insulin supplementation, however, even by using double implantation from the 10th post-STZ week, was unable to restore blood glucose, WBIS, NCV, and SNP release by the 12th week. Insulin resistance occurs in parallel with sensory neuropathy in STZ-diabetic rats. Both can be improved by early but not late insulin supplementation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism