Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 158, Issue 2, pp 211–218 | Cite as

Zinc Supplementation Alleviates Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy by Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Upregulating Metallothionein in Peripheral Nerves of Diabetic Rats

  • Fangyao liu
  • Feiyu Ma
  • Gengbin Kong
  • Kezhou Wu
  • Zhihua Deng
  • Hu WangEmail author


We investigated the effect of zinc supplementation on the expression of metallothionein, lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde, MDA), and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) in the sciatic nerve, motor nerve conduction velocity of the left sciatic posterior tibial nerve in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Twenty-four male rats were equally divided into four groups. The first group served as untreated controls although the second group received 5 mg/kg/day zinc chloride. The third group was treated with STZ to induce diabetes, and the fourth group was treated with STZ and supplemented with zinc. A gradual but insignificant decline in motor nerve conduction velocity was observed at 2 weeks of induction of diabetes. Zinc supplementation markedly attenuated the decrease in motor nerve conduction velocity at week 8 post-induction of diabetes. Furthermore, the tactile response threshold of diabetic rats receiving normal saline was lower than that of diabetic rats receiving zinc supplementation. Additionally, zinc supplementation accentuated the increase in the mRNA transcript levels of metallothionein but attenuated the increase in the mRNA transcript levels of PARP-1. At week 8 post-induction of diabetes, diabetic rats receiving normal saline had markedly higher MDA contents than diabetic rats receiving zinc supplementation. In conclusion, the present study shows that zinc has a protective effect against diabetes-induced peripheral nerve damage by stimulating metallothionein synthesis and downregulating oxidative stress.


Experimental diabetic peripheral neuropathy Oxidative stress Zinc Metallothionein Antioxidant 



This work was supported by grants from the Dr Province Natural Science Foundation of start-up capital (project number 9451503102003481).

Conflict of Interest

No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fangyao liu
    • 1
  • Feiyu Ma
    • 2
  • Gengbin Kong
    • 1
  • Kezhou Wu
    • 1
  • Zhihua Deng
    • 1
  • Hu Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsFirst Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical CollegeShantouChina
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyShantou Central HospitalShantouChina

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