Cellular and Molecular Biology


Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in spontaneously diabetic rats with and without application of EGb 761

Rick Schneider1, Klaus Welt2, Wolfram Aust3, Regina Kluge4, Heinz Löster5 and Günther Fitzl2

1Department of Surgery II, 2Institute of Anatomy, 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, 4Department of Nucler Medicine, and 5Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Offprint requests to: Rick Schneider, Department of Surgery II, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 20, Leipzig, 04103, Germany. e-mail: rick.schneider@medizin.uni-leipzig.de

Summary. Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy causes abnormalities in the diabetic heart with various clinical sequelae, including exercise intolerance, arrhythmias and painless myocardial infarction. Little is known about (ultra)structural alterations of the myocardial nervous network. On the assumption that this diabetes-specific neuropathy develops due to permanently increased oxidative stress by liberation of oxygen-free radicals, adjuvant application of antioxidative therapeutics appears promising in preventing or delaying long-term diabetic complications. We have investigated the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761), a radical scavenger, against diabetes-induced myocardial nervous damage in spontaneously diabetic BioBreeding/Ottawa Karlsburg (BB/OK) rats. Morphological and morphometric parameters were evaluated by electron microscopy. We used immunohistochemistry to investigate protein expression of protein gene product 9.5, S100 protein, and thyroxin hydroxylase as a neuronal marker. Alterations of cardiac sympathetic activity were measured using the in vivo 123I-metaiodobenzyl-guanidine imaging, and the immunofluorescent labeling of beta1-adrenergic receptors and adenylate cyclase. Our results revealed that A) Diabetes results in slight to moderate ultrastructural alterations (hydrops, disintegration of substructure) of autonomic nerve fibers and related Schwann cells in untreated BB diabetic rats; B) Cardiac sympathetic integrity and activity is impaired due to alterations in the presynaptic nerve terminals and the postsynaptic ß1-AR-AC coupling system; C) Pre-treatment of diabetic myocardium with EGb results in an improvement of most of these parameters compared to unprotected myocardium. In conclusion, EGb may act as a potent therapeutic adjuvant in diabetics with respect to cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, which may contribute to the prevention of late complications in diabetes
. Histol Histopathol 25, 1581-1590 (2010)

Key words: Diabetes, Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, 123I-MIBG imaging, Egb 761, Oxidative stress

DOI: 10.14670/HH-25.1581