Corneal epithelial changes in diabetic rats

Ophthalmic Res. 1982;14(4):269-78. doi: 10.1159/000265202.


Electron microscopy of streptozotocin diabetic rat eyes showed increased intracellular levels of tonofilaments and glycogen, thickenings and infoldings of subepithelial basement membrane and basal cell degeneration after 8 months. Glycogen, glucose, sorbitol, and fructose were measured in corneal epithelium from short- and long-term diabetic rats. The small increase in sorbitol pathway products which were found after 8 months of diabetes (less than 1.0 mosm/1 tissue water) confirmed similar findings in rabbits and humans. Thus, the morphologic changes occur in the absence of significant accumulation of sorbitol pathway products. Osmotic damage secondary to corneal epithelial cell accumulation of sorbitol is probably not a significant factor in corneal epithelial diabetic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cornea / analysis
  • Cornea / ultrastructure*
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology*
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Fructose / analysis
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Glycogen / analysis
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Sorbitol / analysis


  • Fructose
  • Sorbitol
  • Glycogen
  • Glucose