- Friday, August 1, 1997
- Early Structural Abnormalities of Peripheral Nerves in Experimental Diabetes: Effects of g-Linolenic Acid Supplementation
- Published at:International Journal of Diabetes, Vol.5 No.2 August 1997
This study was aimed at establishing what, if any, structural abnormalities occur in the peripheral nerves of experimental animals within the first few weeks after diabetic induction with streptozotocin. The effects of g-linolenic acid supplementation on such abnormalities were also studied. Male Wistar rats, all aged 10 weeks, were assessed over a period of 5 weeks following induction of diabetes with a single dose of streptozotocin. The animals were divided into three groups: (a) untreated diabetic rats, (b) diabetic rats maintained on a diet supplemented with g-linolenic acid and (c) age-matched controls. No significant difference was apparent between the three groups for the total number of myelinated nerve fibres in the tibial nerve. The mean myelinated fibre diameter was significantly less in the untreated diabetic animals when compared to the age-matched controls ( p<0.0002). The percentage of large fibres was also significanly less in the untreated diabetic animals when compared with the controls (p<0.0001). In diabetic rats treated with g-linolenic acid, the myelinated fibre number was not significantly different to that of the untreated diabetic and age-matched controls. Myelinated fibre diameter in the g-linolenic acid treated diabetic rats was the same as diabetic animals, but less than that of the age-matched controls (p<0.0002). This study has reiterated the observation that structural abnormalities, in myelinated nerves occur as early as 5 weeks following diabetic induction and that g-linolenic acid supplementation, for a 5 week period, does not influence these changes.