, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 119-127

Hypothalamic lesions in rats with long-term streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus

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Sixteen male Wistar rats, 1 year after injection of streptozotocin or vehicle, were fixed by whole-body perfusion, the brains were removed and processed for light and electron microscopy. Study of semithin sections from the hypothalamic area revealed changes in the arcuate nucleus and median eminence. The lesions, in comparison with controls, were subjected to a blind semiquantitative evaluation. The following changes were observed by light microscopy in diabetic rats: accumulation of glycogen (P<0.01), degeneration of neurons (P<0.05), hypotrophy of tanycytes (P<0.01), and axonal changes. Electron microscopy of diabetic rats revealed that glycogen was increased in neuronal bodies and processes (axons, synapses), also in tanycytes, and glia cells. In neurons were seen: dilated and fragmented endoplasmic reticulum, degranulated ergastoplasm, loss of organelles, increased number of microtubuli, myelin figures, irregulatities in the form of nuclei, and appearance of chromatin. The tanycytes in diabetic animals were reduced in volume, had an increased nuclear cytoplasmic ratio, a reduced number of organelles, short basal processes, and almost complete loss of the apical processes. These changes demonstrate the existance, under experimental conditions, of an encephalopathy pathogenetically related to streptozotocin-induced diabetes.

Supported by the Schweizer Nationalfonds grant No. 3. 198-0.77