Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is the most common complication of diabetes. It is characterized by a constellation of sensory abnormalities, including numbness, tingling, burning, and painful sharp, shooting sensations in the extremities. Patients with DPN are also at high risk for infection and amputation. Traditionally, neuropathy has been considered to result from peripheral nerve damage after long term diabetes, however more recent indicate that functional changes take place in early stages of diabetes. One of those changes is the increased expression and signalling of the receptor for advance glycation end-product (RAGE), which is known to have a pivotal role in the development of diabetic complications. In the current study we concentrate on T-type (Cav 3.2) channels, which are low voltage-activated calcium channels that play a key role in cellular excitability, and have been reported to contribute to pain abnormalities in rat models of DPN. The goal of this project is to elucidate the role of Cav 3.2 during early stages of diabetes in sensory neurons from the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) of mice, and its possible regulation through the RAGE pathway. We used cultured DRG neurons from wilt-type (WT) and RAGE knock-out (RAGE KO) mice maintained in control (5mM) or high glucose (25 mM) for up to 14 days, as well as intact DRG ganglia from streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice (WT and RAGE KO) for 4 weeks. Using whole cell patch-clamp electrophysiology and protein biochemistry we revealed changes in the activation kinetics and expression levels of Cav 3.2 channels. Our data suggest that RAGE-dependent changes in Cav 3.2 expression and function may contribute to functional abnormalities in sensory neurons during early hyperglycemia.


J.T. Neapetung: None. V.A. Campanucci: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at http://www.diabetesjournals.org/content/license.