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Diabetes can Affect Central Nervous System Through a Cascade of Signal Transduction

Updated on August 11, 2016
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I am Shrawan Kumar Upadhyay, a Biochemistry graduate with an aim to work in a Research Laboratory of Biochemistry.

Laboratory mice

Mice are perfect laboratory animals that can be used for different experimental procedure, before testing on human beings.
Mice are perfect laboratory animals that can be used for different experimental procedure, before testing on human beings. | Source


Researchers at the department of Biotechnology, Guru Nanak Dev University, India discovered the fact that different sets of signal transduction are involved in diabetic neuropathy and the research was conducted on streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. They killed rats after 1 and 3 months of diabetes induction, along with a control sample.

They measured blood glucose level and protein content of discrete brain regions and found different components of the signal cascade mechanism. These components are Protein kinase A and C (PKA& PKC), cAMP, phospholipase C and A2, diacylglycerol and inositol phosphate. All these molecules are involved in the signal transduction mechanism and therefore it is sure that diabetes affects the CNS through signal transduction mechanism.


Diabetes is a metabolic disease that arises when the body is unable to produce insulin or produces insulin that is not sufficient to bring the blood glucose inside the cell. The main job of insulin is to bring the blood glucose level down by transporting blood glucose inside the cell for not produce insulin or produces in can be of two types;

There are two types of diabetes; diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes that arises either due to the defective production of insulin by pancreatic cells or due to the inability of the cells to respond to the produced insulin. There are two types of diabetes mellitus; type-1 and type-2.

However, diabetes insipidus is the rare type of diabetes that is characterized by excessive thirst and release of a large amount of dilute urine. There are also many types of diabetes insipidus; neurological diabetes insipidus (that is also called diabetes neuropathy) and nephrological diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes neuropathy arises due to the inability of the body to produce vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone or ADH) while nephrological diabetes insipidus arises due to the inability of the nephrons to respond to the vasopressin.

In diabetic neuropathy, hyperglycemia (an increase in blood glucose level) can induce different chemical changes in neuronal and vascular cells in animals suffering from diabetes. One of such chemical changes in neuronal tissues may contribute to the development of diabetic neuropathy. However, other factors that can lead to diabetic neuropathy are defective Na+, K+-ATPase activity.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Different sites, where Diabetes affects in our body. These are the possible signs of Diabetes
Different sites, where Diabetes affects in our body. These are the possible signs of Diabetes | Source

Experimental Setup

Researchers did an induction of hyperglycemia/diabetes in the laboratory rat using streptozotocin and they confirmed the presence of diabetes by testing urine sugar. After 3 months, they killed the mice and extracted the brain tissues from the cerebellum, brain stem, cerebral hemisphere, hypothalamus, and thalamus. They obtained final extract after homogenization and subcellular fractionation.

What did they do is that they estimated the extract for different components like protein kinase A and C, cAMP, phospholipase C and A2, diacylglycerol, inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate blood glucose, and protein level. With the statistical analysis, they found the following results.

Result and Conclusion

Increase in blood glucose level by 2-2.5 times with no change in blood protein level. About 2 times increase in PKA in hypothalamus and brain stem region, 2 times increase in PKC in the cerebral hemisphere, cerebellum, and hypothalamus. The cAMP was found to increase by 63% in the brain stem and 80% in the hypothalamus. In addition to these chemical components, phospholipase C and A2, diacylglycerol, and IP3, all were found to be in a higher level. All these results indicate the role of different components of signal transduction involved in diabetic neuropathy.


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