Motor End Plate Innervation Loss in Diabetes and the Role of Insulin

George J. Francis, Jose A. Martinez, Wei Q. Liu, Douglas W. Zochodne, Leah R. Hanson, William H. Frey, Cory Toth
2011 Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology  
Retraction of distal sensory axons is a prominent feature in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a process amenable to insulin therapy. Nevertheless, diabetic patients and long-term diabetic mice develop motor deficits after longer durations of DPN, a process that may be related to insulin deficiency. To compare the efficacy of intranasal delivery of insulin (IN-I) and subcutaneous insulin (Subc-I) in preventing motor deficits in a long-term mouse model of DPN, IN-I or Subc-I, 0.87 IU daily
more » ... placebo was delivered in separate cohorts of diabetic and nondiabetic CD1 mice for 8 months. Radiolabeled detection was used to assess insulin delivery and biodistribution. Biweekly behavioral tests and monthly electrophysiological and multipoint quantitative studies assessed motor function deficits. Morphometric analysis of spinal cord, peripheral nerve, muscle innervation, and specific molecular markers were evaluated at and before the end point. Despite progressive distal axonal terminal loss, numbers and caliber of motor neurons were preserved. There were no differences in glycemia between IN-I and Subc-I-treated mice. Intranasal delivery of insulin and, to a lesser extent, Subc-I, protected against electrophysiological decline, loss of neuromuscular junctions, and loss of motor behavioral skills. Intranasal delivery of insulin was associated with greater preservation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway involving Akt, cyclic AMP response element binding protein, and glycogen synthase kinase 3A but did not alter extracellular signalYregulated kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signalYregulated kinase, or c-Jun amino-terminal kinase. Thus, direct delivery of insulin to the nervous system might prevent motor deficit in human type 1 diabetes by preservation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinaseYAkt pathway rather than only affecting glycemic levels; the effects of insulin on other signaling pathways may, however, play additional roles.
doi:10.1097/nen.0b013e318215669a pmid:21487310 fatcat:2chdgh5vvzcczasx676hjng42q