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      Hypoglycaemic neuropathy in BB/Wor rats treated with insulin implants: electron microscopic observations.

      Acta Neuropathologica
      Animals, Axons, pathology, ultrastructure, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, genetics, Diabetic Neuropathies, Drug Implants, Hypoglycemia, drug therapy, Hypoglycemic Agents, therapeutic use, Insulin, administration & dosage, Microscopy, Electron, Peripheral Nerves, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains

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          Abstract

          Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease that causes long-term secondary complications such as neuropathy. The occurrence of diabetic neuropathy has generally been thought of as being associated with hyperglycaemia. However, in a previous light microscopic examination of plantar nerves in diabetic BB/Wor rats treated with insulin implants we found that eu-/hyperglycaemic rats present a normal picture, whereas eu-/hypoglycaemic rats show severe changes. The aim of the present work is to supplement our previous light microscopic report with electron microsocpic data from the lateral plantar nerve of normal, eu-/hyperglycaemic and eu-/hypoglycaemic BB/Wor rats. Under the electron microscope lateral plantar nerves collected from eu-/hyperglycaemic rats presented a qualitatively normal picture. In addition, the fibre numbers and the size distribution of the myelinated fibres were normal. In contrast, specimens from eu-/hypoglycaemic BB/Wor rats showed severe qualitative changes, interpreted as signs of axonal de- and regeneration. The total number of axons was somewhat subnormal and the sizes of the myelinated fibres were strongly shifted towards smaller diameters. These data confirm our previous light microscopic observations. We conclude that eu-/hypoglycaemic BB/Wor rats treated with insulin implants, but not similarly treated eu-/hyperglycaemic animals, develop a neuropathy in their plantar nerves.

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