Streptozotocin (STZ) is used to induce type I diabetes and diabetes-related complications, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The STZ model involves direct changes in the nerves that are not related to an inflammatory process. Standard measures are blood glucose levels and response to Von Frey filaments.
Quantifying intraepidermal nerve fibers (IENF)
As with any preclinical model, clinically relevant data is enhanced by using outcomes that are as close to those measured in human patients. Assessing the cutaneous innervation in human skin biopsies is a valuable method for diagnosing and evaluating diabetic neuropathies. Using the same method ofIENF stainingin diabetic animals allows for the evaluation of nerve fiber damage.
Figure: Plantar skin from naive and STZ animals is harvested on day 28 and stained for PGP9.5. Images are taken using x40-60 objective. Nerves that cross the dermal epidermal junction are marked with a white arrow. Data show that there is no reduction in the total number of PGP-IR fibers 28 days post STZ. There is an increase in the number of injured fibers vs. naive animals.
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