Oxidative stress and defective fatty acid metabolism in diabetes may lead to impaired nerve perfusion and contribute to the development of peripheral neuropathy. We studied the effects of 2-week treatments with evening primrose oil (EPO; n = 16) or the antioxidant alpha -lipoic acid (ALA; n = 16) on endoneurial blood flow, nerve conduction parameters, lipids, coagulation, and endothelial factors, in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Compared with their nondiabetic littermates, untreated diabetic rats had impaired sciatic motor and saphenous sensory nerve-conduction velocity (NGV; P<.001), reduced endoneurial blood flow (P<.001), and increased serum triglycerides (P<.01), cholesterol (P<0.01), plasma factor VII (P<.0001), and von Willebrand factor (vWF; P<.0001). Plasma fibrinogen and serum high-density lipoprotein concentrations were not significantly different. Treatment with either ALA or EPO effectively corrected the deficits in NCV and endoneurial blood flow. ALA was associated with marked and statistically significant decreases in fibrinogen, factor VII, vWF, and triglycerides (P<.01, paired t tests before v after treatment). In contrast, EPO was associated with significant (P<.05) increases in fibrinogen, factor VII, vWF, triglycerides, and cholesterol and a significant decrease in high-density lipoprotein. Changes in levels of coagulation factors and lipids, qualitatively similar to those found with EPO, were obtained with a diet containing sunflower oil (to control for calorific and lipid content) or with a normal diet alone. Blood glucose and hematocrit levels were not significantly altered by treatments. These data suggest that although both ALA and EPO improve blood flow and nerve function, their actions on vascular factors differ. The marked effects of ALA in lowering lipid and hemostatic risk factors for cardiovascular disease indicate potential antithrombotic and antiatherosclerotic actions that could be of benefit In human diabetes and merit further study. Copyright (C) 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.
- URINARY ALBUMIN EXCRETION
- GAMMA-LINOLENIC ACID