Grafe, Peter; Bostock, Hugh; Schneider, Uwe (1994): The effects of hyperglycaemic hypoxia on rectification in rat dorsal root axons. In: The Journal of Physiology, Vol. 480, Nr. 2: S. 297-307




1. Electrotonic responses to 150 ms current pulses were recorded from isolated rat dorsal roots incubated for at least 3 h with either normal (5 mM) or high (25 mM) D-glucose solutions, and with either normal (25 mM) or low (5 mM) bicarbonate concentrations. 2. On replacement of O2 by N2 for 50 min, all the roots depolarized, but the changes in electrotonus differed systematically. With normal glucose, the depolarization was accompanied by an increase in input conductance. In contrast, for the hyperglycaemic roots the depolarization was slower and accompanied by a fall in input conductance which was exacerbated in low bicarbonate concentrations. 3. The changes induced by hyperglycaemic hypoxia in low bicarbonate could be mimicked by exposure of the roots either to 100% CO2 or to a combination of 3 mM tetraethylammonium chloride and 3 mM 4-aminopyridine, to block both fast and slow potassium channels. 4. These results indicate that the primary mechanism of hypoxic depolarization of these sensory axons is altered by hyperglycaemia. In normoglycaemia, the changes in electrotonus are consistent with an increase in axonal potassium conductance. The block of potassium channels seen in hyperglycaemic hypoxia is attributed to intra-axonal acidification by anaerobic glycolysis and may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy.