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The effects of alpha-lipoic acid on diabetic myopathy



Increased oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense are important mechanisms in the pathogenesis of diabetic myopathy. Since diabetes mellitus type 1 decreases muscle regeneration capacity the present study was designed to determine the influence of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a potent biological antioxidant, on the process of regeneration of diabetic rat skeletal muscles.


40 Wistar rats were divided into three groups: control (n = 8), untreated diabetic group (n = 16) and ALA treated diabetic group (n = 16). The regeneration process was provoked in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats in both slow (m.soleus, SOL) and fast (m.extensor digitorum longus, EDL) skeletal muscles by intramuscular injection of myotoxin bupivacaine. At intervals of 10 days and 4 weeks, muscle histochemical and morphometrical analysis (fiber cross areas and fiber type distribution) was performed.


Changes induced by diabetes are evident in redistribution of muscle fibers and in significant level of atrophy. After 4 weeks of diabetes, glycolytic muscle fibers are dominant in both slow and fast muscles. Muscle atrophy is present in all fiber types except in type I of slow skeletal muscle. Treatment with ALA reduce changes in the morphological properties caused by diabetes mellitus type 1 in slow and fast rat skeletal muscles during the process of regeneration.


Treatment with lipoic acid during 4 weeks has shown effects on the redistribution of muscle fibers, and can prevent atrophy in slow and fast diabetic muscle.

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We specially thank Prof. Stefano Sciaffino from the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Padua, Italy for supplying us with monoclonal antibodies for slow and fast myosin heavy chain isoforms.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conceived and designed the experiments: SKG, ID, JED, JR. Performed experiments: SKG, ID, JR, JED. Analysed the data: JR, JED, PS, GD. Contributed reagents/analysis tools: JR, JED, PS, GD. Wrote the paper: SKG, JR, JED. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to G. Starcevic-Klasan.

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The design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data and manuscript writing of the study was supported by a Grant from the University of Rijeka, Croatia No. 848-10-1348.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures using animals in this investigation were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka and are in accordance with the Law on the implementation of European Union Regulations on animal welfare 2013.

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Jurisic-Erzen, D., Starcevic-Klasan, G., Ivanac, D. et al. The effects of alpha-lipoic acid on diabetic myopathy. J Endocrinol Invest 41, 203–209 (2018).

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  • Skeletal muscle
  • Regeneration
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Alpha-lipoic acid