Diabetes mellitus-associated decrease in nerve growth factor levels is reversed by allogeneic pancreatic islet transplantation

Neurosci Lett. 1991 Apr 15;125(1):1-4. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(91)90114-9.


After an untreated 5-month duration of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes mellitus (DM), nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in BDE rats were decreased to 45-65% of control in the sympathetically innervated target organs iris and submandibular gland, in the superior cervical ganglion (containing NGF-dependent sympathetic perikarya projecting to the cranial targets), and in the NGF-transporting sciatic nerve. Successful allogeneic pancreatic islet transplantation (providing a physiological glucose homeostasis without immunosuppression) after 3-4 weeks of DM reversed the DM-related decrease in NGF levels 4 months after transplantation as compared with untreated diabetic rats. By contrast, NGF levels in the treated vas deferens (innervated by short postganglionic sympathetic neurons) remained increased as in the untreated diabetic rats (175% of control). Thus, DM-associated changes in endogenous NGF levels seem to be reversible by institution of metabolic control, at least at an early stage of DM when NGF-responsive neurons have not been deprived of NGF for a long time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / surgery
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiopathology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Iris / physiopathology*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reference Values
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Submandibular Gland / physiopathology*
  • Vas Deferens / physiopathology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Nerve Growth Factors