It has been reported previously that the plasma concentration of ascorbic acid (AA) is reducedin streptozocin-induced diabetic rats and can be normalized by treatment with the aldose reductase inhibitor tolrestat. This study was designed to investigate further the relationship between the polyol pathway and AA metabolism in diabetic rats. Disturbance of AA metabolism was demonstrable after 1 wk of diabetes. Dietary myo-inositol supplementation was effective in normalizing plasma AA levels, as was treatment with tolrestat. In untreated diabetes, despite low plasma AA concentration, there was increased urinary excretion of AA that was reversed by treatment with either tolrestat or myoinositol. In contrast, AA supplementation normalized plasma AA concentrations while further increasing urinary AA excretion. The abnormality of AA metabolism was less severe in galactose-fed rats, which had normal plasma AA levels and only minor increases in urinary AA excretion. These studies demonstrated a disturbance in the regulation of plasma and urinary AA concentration in experimental diabetes and confirmed the relationship of AA with the polyol pathway. Because AA has many important biological functions, abnormalities of AA metabolism could be important in the pathogenesis of some diabetic complications. The interaction of the polyol and AA pathways suggests that this could be another site of action for aldose reductase inhibitors.

This content is only available via PDF.