Early, selective, and marked loss of sympathetic nerves from the islets of BioBreeder diabetic rats.
GJ Jr. Taborsky
Summary, in English
To discover whether islet sympathetic nerves are damaged during the autoimmune destruction of islet B-cells, we immunostained sections of pancreas from BioBreeder (BB) diabetic rats, using antibodies against vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), a marker of sympathetic nerve terminals. We found a marked decrease in the VMAT2-positive fiber area in the islets of BB rats that had been diabetic for only 1-2 weeks compared with their nondiabetic controls. In contrast, there was no significant decrease in the VMAT2-positive fiber area in the exocrine pancreas in these early diabetic BB rats. Furthermore, streptozotocin-diabetic rats showed no decrease in VMAT2-positive fiber area in their islets compared with controls. The classical diabetic autonomic neuropathy (DAN) that eventually occurs in the heart was not present in BB diabetic rats at this early stage as evidenced by normal cardiac VMAT2 immunostaining and normal cardiac norepinephrine content. Also, in contrast to DAN, this isl