An investigation into mechanisms underlying aberrant pain responses, and potential therapeutic interventions in the HFD/STZ model of diabetic neuropathy

Byrne, Frederika (2014) An investigation into mechanisms underlying aberrant pain responses, and potential therapeutic interventions in the HFD/STZ model of diabetic neuropathy. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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It is estimated that 366 million people were living with diabetes in 2011, and this is predicted to rise to 522 million by 2030. One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy, where patients experience various symptoms of neuropathic pain including mechanical allodynia. Using a high fat diet (HFD) in combination with streptozotocin (STZ) produces a model of diabetes which mimics aspects of type 2 diabetes. The aim of this thesis was to characterise pain responses in the HFD/STZ model and to explore some of the peripheral and spinal mechanisms associated with the changes in somatosensory processing. The effectiveness of a variety of drugs in alleviating/preventing neuropathic pain was also investigated in this model.

The effects of the HFD/STZ model on mechanical sensitivity, and changes in metabolic parameters were investigated, and it was found to cause a robust development of mechanical hypersensitivity and a large increase in plasma glucose and a contrasting decrease in plasma insulin. The impacts of the HFD/STZ model on peripheral nerve function and pathology, and spinal mechanisms of central sensitisation, were explored to help identify the mechanisms underpinning the behavioural pain phenotype in these rats. No neuronal degeneration was detected in DRGs or the spinal cord at the timepoints investigated, and a decrease in microglial activation and GFAP immunoreactivity was observed at later timepoints (day 50). Changes in neuronal responses in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord were then investigated, and there was a trend towards a decrease in mechanically evoked responses of spinal neurones in the HFD/STZ group, but no changes in the threshold for electrical activation of C-fibres, nor any significant changes to electrically evoked responses, were observed. There was no change in spontaneous firing, possibly due to the search criteria used.

The effects of different types of interventions on aberrant pain responses were also investigated. As neuropathic pain often proves intractable, one of the key objectives is to develop new drugs, or to find alternative uses of current drugs, that are able to provide symptomatic relief of pain. The gold standard treatment for pain in diabetic neuropathy, pregabalin (10mgkg-1, p.o.), was effective at alleviating established mechanical hypersensitivity at day 37 in the HFD/STZ model. A novel MAGL inhibitor, MJN110 (5mgkg-1, i.p.), was found to be as effective as pregabalin in this model, highlighting a possible role for endocannabinoid modulators in providing pain relief in diabetes. The antidiabetic pioglitazone (10mgkg-1, p.o.), however, was unable to alleviate mechanical hypersensitivity when administered at day 21 for 28 days. Two other antidiabetic drugs, linagliptin (3mgkg-1, p.o.) and metformin (200mgkg-1, p.o.), did show promise in preventing the development of mechanical hypersensitivity in this model when administered from day 4, independent of glycemic control. It is worth investigating these findings further since both of these drugs are already licensed and have undergone all necessary safety testing, and so could rapidly be put to use if effective.

In conclusion, this thesis has highlighted the role that the HFD/STZ model can play in investigating underlying mechanisms of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, and its use in exploring potential new therapeutic options for alleviating this pain.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Chapman, V.
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WK Endocrine system
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Item ID: 14031
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 08:34
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 18:54

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