Recurrent Hypoglycemia Exacerbates Cerebral Ischemic Damage in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats
Background and Purpose—Stroke and heart disease are the most serious complications of diabetes accounting for >65% of mortality among diabetics. Although intensive insulin therapy has significantly improved the prognosis of diabetes and its complications, it is associated with an elevated risk of recurrent hypoglycemia (RH). We tested the hypothesis that RH exacerbates cerebral ischemic damage in a rodent model of diabetes.
Method—We determined the extent of neuronal death in CA1 hippocampus after global cerebral ischemia in control and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diabetic animals included an insulin-treated streptozotocin-diabetic (ITD) group and a group of ITD rats exposed also to 10 episodes of hypoglycemia (ITD+recurrent hypoglycemia: RH). Hypoglycemia (55 to 65 mg/dL blood glucose) was induced twice daily for 5 consecutive days.
Results—As expected, uncontrolled diabetes (streptozotocin-diabetes, untreated animals) resulted in a 70% increase in ischemic damage as compared with the control group. Insulin treatment was able to lower ischemic damage by 64% as compared with the diabetic group. However, ITD+RH rats had 44% more damage when compared with the ITD group. We also observed that free radical release from mitochondria is increased in ITD+RH rats.
Conclusions—This is the first report on the impact of RH in exacerbating cerebral ischemic damage in diabetic animals. Our results suggest that increased free radical release from mitochondria may be responsible for observed increased ischemic damage in ITD+RH rats. RH thus may be an unexplored but important factor responsible for increased ischemic damage in diabetes.
- Received July 1, 2010.
- Revision received December 9, 2010.
- Accepted December 29, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.