, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 141-144

First online:

Nerve conduction and aldose reductase inhibition during 5 years of diabetes or galactosaemia in dogs

  • R. L. EngermanAffiliated withDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin
  • , T. S. KernAffiliated withDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin
  • , M. E. LarsonAffiliated withDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin

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To evaluate the role of excessive polyol pathway activity in the pathogenesis of nerve disorders in diabetes mellitus, nerve conduction velocity was measured in motor nerves of diabetic dogs given an aldose reductase inhibitor (Sorbinil) or placebo, and also in non-diabetic dogs made experimentally galactosaemic. The nerve conduction velocity slowly declined in the diabetic placebo group, becoming significantly less than normal by the fifth year of the study, and the decline was prevented by administration of the aldose reductase inhibitor. Non-diabetic dogs made galactosaemic by consuming a 30 % galactose diet developed erythrocyte and nerve polyol concentrations many times greater than that of diabetic or normal animals, but the nerve conduction velocity remained normal throughout 5 years of study. These results in dogs suggest that aldose reductase inhibitors may prevent defective nerve conduction in long-term diabetes, and raise the possibility that excessive accumulation of polyol itself is not sufficient to produce the nerve defect in the absence of excessive polyol utilization.

Key words

Diabetes mellitus galactosaemia aldose reductase neuropathy nerve conduction polyol pathway