The effects of castration on diabetes-induced increases in collagen cross-linking and vascular permeability and on polyol levels in new granulation tissue formed after induction of streptozocin (STZ) diabetes were examined in male Sprague-Dawley rats. New granulation tissue formation was induced by implanting sterile polyester fabric subcutaneously (s.c.) at the time of STZ injection 3 wk before assessment of vascular permeability and collagen cross-linking. Castration was performed 10 days before implanting the fabric. The characteristic increases in collagen cross-linking (manifested by decreased solubility in 0.5 M acetic acid) and in albumin permeation of the vasculature seen in intact diabetic rats were completely prevented by castration. Net collagen accumulation was not affected by diabetes or castration. Castration also markedly diminished diabetes-induced increases in tissue levels of sorbitol and completely prevented the decreases in tissue levels of myo-inositol and scyllo-inositol observed in intact diabetic rats, but had no effect on serum glucose levels, nonenzymatic glycosylation of plasma and granulation tissue proteins, or plasma somatomedin-C levels.

The demonstration that castration prevents diabetesinduced increases in vascular permeability and collagen cross-linking as well as imbalances in tissue levels of sorbitol, myo-inositol, and scyllo-inositol in this model indicates that all of these changes are sex steroid-dependent phenomena. While the pathogenesis of these vascular permeability and collagen cross-linking changes is clearly multifactorial, these new findings: (1) indicate that the role of sex steroids in the development of late complications of diabetes may be far more important than hitherto suspected, and (2) suggest an explanation for the clinical observation that diabetic complications are uncommon in prepubertal diabetic subjects regardless of duration of diabetes.

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