Long-term suppression of postprandial hyperglycemia with acarbose retards the development of neuropathies in BB/W-rat

Author(s): Sima AA, Chakrabarti S


The effect of the alpha-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose on postprandial hyperglycaemia was explored in the spontaneously diabetic BB/W-rat. Acarbose-treatment (5 mg.kg body weight-1.day-1) of diabetic BB/W-rats maintained on small doses of insulin, was associated with a 40% reduction in the 24-h glucose area compared to non-treated diabetic rats. Over a 4 month treatment period this reduction in cumulative hyperglycaemia resulted in a complete prevention of autonomic polyneuropathy as indicated by R-BAR values. The development of somatic polyneuropathy in the BB/W-rat was significantly attenuated by acarbose treatment with a partial prevention of the characteristic nerve conduction velocity slowing during the first 3 months of diabetes, but no longer at 4 months. Characteristic structural abnormalities associated with diabetes in this model, such as axonal atrophy and axo-glial dysjunction, were significantly but only partially prevented in rats treated with acarbose for a diabetes duration of 4 months. These data suggest that postprandial lowering of hyperglycaemia resulting in a decrease in cumulative hyperglycaemia retards the development of diabetic polyneuropathies in the BB/W-rat.

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