The volume of nerve cell bodies of the anterior horn of the fifth lumbar segment and of the fifth lumbar dorsal root ganglion were measured by stereological methods in rats with 4-wk duration of streptozotocin diabetes and in age-matched controls. The perikaryal volume of motor and sensory neurons was reduced by 18% in diabetic rats and a shift between the number of A- and B-cells was observed in the dorsal root ganglion.

The findings are in accordance with our earlier observation of reduced axonal size of myelinated fibers in the common peroneal nerve. Furthermore, the data lead us to suppose that the nervous system abnormalities in early diabetes are not exclusively restricted to the peripheral nerves.

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