In this report, we made use of sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH)-deficient mutant mice (C57BL/LiA) to test whether there is a close correlation between the level of polyol accumulation and the degree of reduction in motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) associated with diabetes. The C57BL/LiA mouse has SDH deficiency due to a G-to-A mutation at the +1 position of intron 8, thus producing only aberrant SDH transcripts. These C57BL/LiA mice should have higher levels of polyol accumulation in the peripheral nerve because of the inability to further metabolize sorbitol to fructose. Here, we confirm by Western blot analysis and high-performance liquid chromatography that these mice lack SDH in the sciatic nerve and other various tissues, whereas normal mice possess SDH. These C57BL/LiA mice do not display any obvious phenotype that includes peripheral neuropathy in the normal laboratory environment and breed normally as described previously, although the tissues that normally contain SDH accumulate more sorbitol. This finding suggested that C57BL/LiA mouse strain is a valid model for studying the role in diabetic neuropathy of the polyol pathway, which consists of two enzymes-aldose reductase for converting glucose to sorbitol and SDH for converting sorbitol to fructose. Sorbitol levels in the sciatic nerve of diabetic C57BL/10N, nondiabetic, and diabetic C57BL/LiA mice were increased 4.3-, 16.6-, and 38.1-fold, respectively, above that of nondiabetic C57BL/10N. The fructose level in the sciatic nerve was increased 2.4-fold in diabetic C57BL/10N mice compared with that of nondiabetic and diabetic C57BL/LiA mice. Diabetic SDH-deficient mice showed an MNCV reduction similar in magnitude to that of diabetic C57BL/10N mice, despite greater nerve sorbitol accumulation and the lack of fructose in the former. The present data suggest that the levels of sorbitol and fructose in the sciatic nerve of mice do not correlate with the severity of MNCV deficit associated with diabetes.

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