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Experimental Diabesity Research
Volume 5 (2004), Issue 1, Pages 79-90

C-peptide and Central Nervous System Complications in Diabetes

1Department of Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Room 9275, H.G. Scott Hall, 540 East Canfield Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA
2 Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA
3Morris J. Hood Jr. Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Received 2 September 2003; Accepted 28 November 2003

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Substantial evidence collected from clinical data and experimental studies has indicated that CNS is not spared from diabetes complications. Impairments in CNS function are well documented in both type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients as well as in various animal models of diabetes, in terms of alterations in cognition, neuropsychology, neurobehavior, electrophysiology, structure, neurochemistry and apoptotic activities. These data suggest that primary diabetic encephalopathy exists as a definable diabetic complication. The mechanisms underlying this CNS complication are not clear. Experimental studies have suggested that neuronal apoptosis may play an important role in neuronal loss and impaired cognitive function. In diabetes multiple factors are responsible for neuronal apoptosis, such as a perturbed IGF system, hyperglycemia and the aging process itself. Recent data suggest that insulin/C-peptide deficiency may exert an eminent role. Administration of C-peptide partially corrects the perturbed IGF system in the brain and prevents neuronal apoptosis in hippocampus of type 1 diabetes. In neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells C-peptide provides a dose-dependent stimulation on cell proliferation and an anti-apoptotic effect as well. These studies provide a basis for administration of C-peptide as a potentially effective therapy for type 1 diabetes.