Mechanism of pain in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Effect of glucose on pain perception in humans

Am J Med. 1984 Jul;77(1):79-82. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(84)90439-x.


Animal studies have suggested an altered response to opiate agonists and antagonists as well as an altered pain threshold in diabetic animals. In the studies reported herein, a 50 g glucose infusion in normal subjects resulted in a significant decrease in both the threshold level of pain and the maximal level of pain tolerated, as measured by responses to electrical pain induced by a Grass stimulator. In addition, patients with diabetes mellitus were hyperalgesic when compared with normal subjects. It is concluded that elevated glucose levels and/or rapid fluxes in glucose levels result in a decrease in pain tolerance. These findings have potential clinical implications in the pathophysiology and management of painful diabetic neuropathy and the use of narcotic agents in diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Differential Threshold
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / physiopathology*


  • Glucose