Ganglioside Treatment Modifies Abnormal Elemental Composition in Peripheral Nerve Myelinated Axons of Experimentally Diabetic Rats

Richard M. LoPachin, Carolyn M. Castiglia, Albert J. Saubermann, Joseph Eichberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Abstract: Effects of ganglioside administration on elemental composition of peripheral nerve myelinated axons and Schwann cells were determined in streptozotocin‐induced diabetic rats and nondiabetic controls. Diabetic rats (50 days after administration of streptozocin) exhibited a loss of axoplasmic K and Cl concentrations in sciatic nerve relative to control, whereas intraaxonal levels of these elements increased in tibial nerve. These regional changes in diabetic rat constitute a reversal of the decreasing proximodistal gradients for K and Cl concentrations that characterize normal peripheral nerve. Treatment of diabetic rats with a ganglioside mixture for 30 days (initiated 20 days after the administration of streptozocin) returned proximal sciatic nerve axoplasmic K and Cl concentrations to control levels, whereas in tibial axons, concentrations of these elements increased further relative to diabetic levels. Also in the ganglioside/diabetic group, mean axoplasmic Na concentrations were reduced and Ca levels were elevated. Mixed ganglioside treatment of nondiabetic rats significantly increased axoplasmic dry weight concentrations of K and Cl in proximal sciatic and tibial axons. Schwann cells did not exhibit consistent alterations in elemental content regardless of treatment group. Changes in elemental composition evoked by ganglioside treatment of diabetic rats might reflect the ability of these substances to stimulate Na+,K+‐ATPase activity and might be related to the mechanism by which gangliosides improve functional deficits in experimental diabetic neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-486
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Axonopathy
  • Diabetes
  • Electron probe x‐ray microanalysis
  • Element
  • Gangliosides
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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