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α-lipoic acid suppresses neuronal excitability and attenuates colonic hypersensitivity to colorectal distention in diabetic rats

Authors Sun Y, Yang PP, Song ZY, Feng Y, Hu DM, Hu J, Xu GY, Zhang HH

Received 17 February 2017

Accepted for publication 16 May 2017

Published 14 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1645—1655

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S135017

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Yan Sun,1,* Pan-Pan Yang,1,* Zhen-Yuan Song,2 Yu Feng,1 Duan-Min Hu,1 Ji Hu,1 Guang-Yin Xu,3 Hong-Hong Zhang1,3

1Department of Endocrinology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Endocrinology, The East District of Suzhou Municipal Hospital, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China; 3Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Translational Research and Therapy for Neuro-Psycho-Diseases, Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Aim: Patients with long-standing diabetes often demonstrate intestinal dysfunction, characterized as constipation or colonic hypersensitivity. Our previous studies have demonstrated the roles of voltage-gated sodium channels NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in colonic hypersensitivity of rats with diabetes. This study was designed to determine roles of antioxidant α-lipoic acid (ALA) on sodium channel activities and colonic hypersensitivity of rats with diabetes.
Methods: Streptozotocin was used to induce diabetes in adult female rats. Colonic sensitivity was measured by behavioral responses to colorectal distention in rats. The excitability and sodium channel currents of colon projection DRG neurons labeled with DiI were measured by whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. The expressions of NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 of colon DRGs were measured by western blot analysis.
Results: ALA treatment significantly increased distention threshold in responding to colorectal distension in diabetic rats compared with normal saline treatment. ALA treatment also hyperpolarized the resting membrane potentials, depolarized action potential threshold, increased rheobase, and decreased frequency of action potentials evoked by ramp current stimulation. Furthermore, ALA treatment also reduced neuronal sodium current densities of DRG neurons innervating the colon from rats with diabetes. In addition, ALA treatment significantly downregulated NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 expression in colon DRGs from rats with diabetes.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that ALA plays an analgesic role, which was likely mediated by downregulation of NaV1.7 and NaV1.8 expressions and functions, thus providing experimental evidence for using ALA to treat colonic hypersensitivity in patients with diabetic visceral pain.

Keywords: diabetes, colonic hypersensitivity, dorsal root ganglion, voltage-gated sodium channels, α-lipoic acid

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