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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 714273, 7 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Diabetic Neuropathy in the Zucker Diabetic Sprague-Dawley Rat: A New Animal Model for Type 2 Diabetes

1Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
2Department of Veterans Affairs Iowa City Health Care System, Iowa City, IA 52246, USA
3PreClinOmics Inc., Indianapolis, IN 46268, USA
4Iowa City Veterans Administration Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss, Iowa City, IA 52246, USA
5Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

Received 23 July 2014; Accepted 9 September 2014; Published 13 October 2014

Academic Editor: Norman Cameron

Copyright © 2014 Eric P. Davidson et al. 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.


Recently a new rat model for type 2 diabetes the Zucker diabetic Sprague-Dawley (ZDSD/Pco) was created. In this study we sought to characterize the development of diabetic neuropathy in ZDSD rats using age-matched Sprague-Dawley rats as a control. Rats were examined at 34 weeks of age 12 weeks after the onset of hyperglycemia in ZDSD rats. At this time ZDSD rats were severely insulin resistant with slowing of both motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities. ZDSD rats also had fatty livers, elevated serum free fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol, and elevated sciatic nerve nitrotyrosine levels. The corneas of ZDSD rats exhibited a decrease in subbasal epithelial corneal nerves and sensitivity. ZDSD rats were hypoalgesic but intraepidermal nerve fibers in the skin of the hindpaw were normal compared to Sprague-Dawley rats. However, the number of Langerhans cells was decreased. Vascular reactivity of epineurial arterioles, blood vessels that provide circulation to the sciatic nerve, to acetylcholine and calcitonin gene-related peptide was impaired in ZDSD rats. These data indicate that ZDSD rats develop many of the neural complications associated with type 2 diabetes and are a good animal model for preclinical investigations of drug development for diabetic neuropathy.