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1.  The Effects of C-peptide on Type 1 Diabetic Polyneuropathies and Encephalopathy in the BB/Wor-rat 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2008;2008:230458.
Diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN) occurs more frequently in type 1 diabetes resulting in a more severe DPN. The differences in DPN between the two types of diabetes are due to differences in the availability of insulin and C-peptide. Insulin and C-peptide provide gene regulatory effects on neurotrophic factors with effects on axonal cytoskeletal proteins and nerve fiber integrity. A significant abnormality in type 1 DPN is nodal degeneration. In the type 1 BB/Wor-rat, C-peptide replacement corrects metabolic abnormalities ameliorating the acute nerve conduction defect. It corrects abnormalities of neurotrophic factors and the expression of neuroskeletal proteins with improvements of axonal size and function. C-peptide corrects the expression of nodal adhesive molecules with prevention and repair of the functionally significant nodal degeneration. Cognitive dysfunction is a recognized complication of type 1 diabetes, and is associated with impaired neurotrophic support and apoptotic neuronal loss. C-peptide prevents hippocampal apoptosis and cognitive deficits. It is therefore clear that substitution of C-peptide in type 1 diabetes has a multitude of effects on DPN and cognitive dysfunction. Here the effects of C-peptide replenishment will be extensively described as they pertain to DPN and diabetic encephalopathy, underpinning its beneficial effects on neurological complications in type 1 diabetes.
doi:10.1155/2008/230458
PMCID: PMC2323445  PMID: 18437223
2.  Neuronal loss in Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease differs in various mutations of the proteolipid protein 1 
Acta neuropathologica  2009;118(4):10.1007/s00401-009-0562-8.
Mutations affecting proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1), the major protein in central nervous system myelin, cause the X-linked leukodystrophy Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease (PMD). We describe the neuropathologic findings in a series of eight male PMD subjects with confirmed PLP1 mutations, including duplications, complete gene deletion, missense and exon-skipping. While PLP1 mutations have effects on oligodendrocytes that result in mutation-specific degrees of dysmyelination, our findings indicate that there are also unexpected effects in the central nervous system resulting in neuronal loss. Although length-dependent axonal degeneration has been described in PLP1 null mutations, there have been no reports on neuronal degeneration in PMD patients. We now demonstrate widespread neuronal loss in PMD. The patterns of neuronal loss appear to be dependent on the mutation type, suggesting selective vulnerability of neuronal populations that depends on the nature of the PLP1 disturbance. Nigral neurons, which were not affected in patients with either null or severe misfolding mutations, and thalamic neurons appear particularly vulnerable in PLP1 duplication and deletion patients, while hippocampal neuronal loss was prominent in a patient with complete PLP1 gene deletion. All subjects showed cerebellar neuronal loss. The patterns of neuronal involvement may explain some clinical findings, such as ataxia, being more prominent in PMD than in other leukodystrophies. While the precise pathogenetic mechanisms are not known, these observations suggest that defective glial functions contribute to neuronal pathology.
doi:10.1007/s00401-009-0562-8
PMCID: PMC3876935  PMID: 19562355
3.  Dynamic Changes of Neuroskeletal Proteins in DRGs Underlie Impaired Axonal Maturation and Progressive Axonal Degeneration in Type 1 Diabetes 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2009;2009:793281.
We investigated mechanisms underlying progressive axonal dysfunction and structural deficits in type 1 BB/Wor-rats from 1 week to 10 month diabetes duration. Motor and sensory conduction velocities were decreased after 4 and 6 weeks of diabetes and declined further over the remaining 9 months. Myelinated sural nerve fibers showed progressive deficits in fiber numbers and sizes. Structural deficits in unmyelinated axonal size were evident at 2 month and deficits in number were present at 4 mo. These changes were preceded by decreased availability of insulin, C-peptide and IGF-1 and decreased expression of neurofilaments and β-III-tubulin. Upregulation of phosphorylating stress kinases like Cdk5, p-GSK-3β, and p42/44 resulted in increased phosphorylation of neurofilaments. Increasing activity of p-GSK-3β correlated with increasing phosphorylation of NFH, whereas decreasing Cdk5 correlated with diminishing phosphorylation of NFM. The data suggest that impaired neurotrophic support results in sequentially impaired synthesis and postranslational modifications of neuroskeletal proteins, resulting in progressive deficits in axonal function, maturation and size.
doi:10.1155/2009/793281
PMCID: PMC2761046  PMID: 19834568
4.  The identification of gene expression profiles associated with progression of human diabetic neuropathy 
Brain  2011;134(11):3222-3235.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. While multiple pathways are implicated in the pathophysiology of diabetic neuropathy, there are no specific treatments and no means to predict diabetic neuropathy onset or progression. Here, we identify gene expression signatures related to diabetic neuropathy and develop computational classification models of diabetic neuropathy progression. Microarray experiments were performed on 50 samples of human sural nerves collected during a 52-week clinical trial. A series of bioinformatics analyses identified differentially expressed genes and their networks and biological pathways potentially responsible for the progression of diabetic neuropathy. We identified 532 differentially expressed genes between patient samples with progressing or non-progressing diabetic neuropathy, and found these were functionally enriched in pathways involving inflammatory responses and lipid metabolism. A literature-derived co-citation network of the differentially expressed genes revealed gene subnetworks centred on apolipoprotein E, jun, leptin, serpin peptidase inhibitor E type 1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. The differentially expressed genes were used to classify a test set of patients with regard to diabetic neuropathy progression. Ridge regression models containing 14 differentially expressed genes correctly classified the progression status of 92% of patients (P < 0.001). To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify transcriptional changes associated with diabetic neuropathy progression in human sural nerve biopsies and describe their potential utility in classifying diabetic neuropathy. Our results identifying the unique gene signature of patients with progressive diabetic neuropathy will facilitate the development of new mechanism-based diagnostics and therapies.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr228
PMCID: PMC3212712  PMID: 21926103
biomarkers; diabetic neuropathy; classification model; sural nerve; gene expression
5.  A mutation affecting the sodium/proton exchanger, SLC9A6, causes mental retardation with tau deposition 
Brain  2010;133(5):1391-1402.
We have studied a family with severe mental retardation characterized by the virtual absence of speech, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, late-onset ataxia, weakness and dystonia. Post-mortem examination of two males revealed widespread neuronal loss, with the most striking finding being neuronal and glial tau deposition in a pattern reminiscent of corticobasal degeneration. Electron microscopic examination of isolated tau filaments demonstrated paired helical filaments and ribbon-like structures. Biochemical studies of tau demonstrated a preponderance of 4R tau isoforms. The phenotype was linked to Xq26.3, and further analysis identified an in-frame 9 base pair deletion in the solute carrier family 9, isoform A6 (SLC9A6 gene), which encodes sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 localized to endosomal vesicles. Sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 is thought to participate in the targeting of intracellular vesicles and may be involved in recycling synaptic vesicles. The striking tau deposition in our subjects reveals a probable interaction between sodium/proton exchangers and cytoskeletal elements involved in vesicular transport, and raises the possibility that abnormalities of vesicular targeting may play an important role in more common disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq071
PMCID: PMC2859154  PMID: 20395263
mental retardation; corticobasal degeneration; tau expression; SLC9A6; autism
6.  The Clinical Potential of C-Peptide Replacement in Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2012;61(4):761-772.
doi:10.2337/db11-1423
PMCID: PMC3314360  PMID: 22442295
7.  The C-peptide Signaling 
For years an assumption was made that C-peptide, a byproduct of insulin biosynthesis, possessed no appreciable physiologic role. As other contributions in this volume amply testify, the time has come to re-evaluate that notion. C-peptide either directly through interaction with its specific cell-surface receptor or indirectly through an interaction with a related membrane entity, exerts a unique effect on several intracellular processes.We review here results of studies attempting to elucidate such molecular effects of C-peptide in different cell systems and tissues. Lacking a purified C-peptide receptor, we also demonstrate C-peptide effects on distinct elements of the insulin signal transduction pathways.
doi:10.1080/15438600490424497
PMCID: PMC2478625  PMID: 15198369
8.  Type 1 Diabetic Neuropathy and C-peptide 
The most common microvascular diabetic complication, diabetic peripheral polyneuropathy (DPN), affects type 1 diabetic patients more often and more severely. In recent decades, it has become increasingly clear that perpetuating pathogenetic mechanisms, molecular, functional, and structural changes and ultimately the clinical expression of DPN differ between the two major types of diabetes. Impaired insulin/C-peptide action has emerged as a crucial factor to account for the disproportionate burden affecting type 1 patients. C-peptide was long believed to be biologically inactive. However, it has now been shown to have a number of insulin-like glucoseindependent effects. Preclinical studies have demonstrated dose-dependent effects on Na+,K+-ATPase activity, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and endoneurial blood flow. Furthermore, it has regulatory effects on neurotrophic factors and molecules pivotal to the integrity of the nodal and paranodal apparatus and modulatory effects on apoptotic phenomena affecting the diabetic nervous system. In animal studies, C-peptide improves nerve conduction abnormalities, prevents nodal degenerative changes, characteristic of type 1 DPN, promotes nerve fiber regeneration, and prevents apoptosis of central and peripheral nerve cell constituents. Limited clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects of C-peptide on autonomic and somatic nerve function in patients with type 1 DPN. Therefore, evidence accumulates that replacement of C-peptide in type 1 diabetes prevents and even improves DPN. Large-scale food and drug administration (FDA)-approved clinical trials are necessary to make this natural substance available to the globally increasing type 1 diabetic population.
doi:10.1080/15438600490424541
PMCID: PMC2478622  PMID: 15198372
9.  C-peptide and Central Nervous System Complications in Diabetes 
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.
doi:10.1080/15438600490424550
PMCID: PMC2478617  PMID: 15198373
10.  C-peptide and Retinal Microangiopathy in Diabetes 
Increased extracellular matrix (ECM) protein deposition and capillary basement membrane (BM) thickening are characteristic features of diabetic retinal microangiopathy. Recent observations in the authors' laboratories suggest that high glucose in endothelial cells as well as diabetes causes up-regulation of total fibronectin (FN), as well as extradomain-B (EDB) containing the spliced variant of FN, oncofetal FN, in the retina. This splice variant is normally absent in mature adult tissues and is believed to be involved in angiogenesis. In this study, the authors have investigated the role of C-peptide in the production of ECM proteins and capillary BM thickening in the retina of diabetic rats. They investigated retinas from poorly controlled diabetic BB/Wor rats with or without C-peptide treatment as well as those from age-matched nondiabetic control rats after 8 months of diabetes. In addition, the authors investigated retinas from BBDRZ/Wor rats, a model of type 2 diabetes. Following a treatment period of 8 months, retinal tissues were harvested for gene expression and histological analyses. In the retinas of diabetic BB/Wor rats, a significant increase of oncofetal FN was demonstrated compared to control rats. C-peptide treatment of BB/Wor rats completely prevented such increase. Furthermore, retinas from BBDRZ/Wor rats, did not exhibit any such alteration in oncofetal FN expression. The authors further examined retinal capillary BM thickening using ultrastructural morphometry. C-peptide treatment was ineffective in preventing the diabetes-induced increase in capillary BM thickness. The authors' previous studies of cultured endothelial cells demonstrated that oncofetal FN synthesis is, at least in part, mediated via transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and endothelin-1 (ET-1). Hence, they examined these two transcripts in the retina of these animals. Diabetes caused significant increase in mRNA expression of ET-1 and TGF-β, which was not prevented by C-peptide treatment. Hence it appears that C-peptide is effective in preventing diabetes-induced oncofetal FN expression and that these effects are not mediated via ET-1 or TGF-β. In conclusion, these data suggest that C-peptide is involved in regulating ECM protein composition. Furthermore, normalization of diabetes-induced oncofetal FN up-regulation may suggest importance of C-peptide in advanced alterations in diabetic retinopathy such as angiogenesis.
doi:10.1080/15438600490424569
PMCID: PMC2478616  PMID: 15198374
11.  The Insulin-Like Growth Factor System and Neurological Complications in Diabetes 
Experimental Diabesity Research  2003;4(4):235-256.
The IGF system plays vital roles in neuronal development, metabolism, regeneration and survival. It consists of IGF-I, IGF-II, insulin, IGF-I-receptor, and those of IGF-II and insulin as well as IGF-binding proteins. In the last decades it has become clear that perturbations of the IGF system play important roles in the pathogenesis of diabetic neurological complications. In the peripheral nervous system IGF-I, insulin, and C-peptide particularly in type 1 diabetes participate in the development of axonal degenerative changes and contributes to impaired regenerative capacities. These abnormalities of the IGF system appear to be less pronounced in type 2 diabetes, which may in part account for the relatively milder neurological complications in this type of diabetes. The members of the IGF system also provide anti-apoptotic effects on both peripheral and central nervous system neurons. Furthermore, both insulin and C-peptide and probably IGF-I possess gene regulatory capacities on myelin constituents and axonal cytoskeletal proteins. Therefore, replenishment of various members of the IGF system provides a reasonable rational for prevention and treatment of diabetic neurological complications.
doi:10.1155/EDR.2003.235
PMCID: PMC2478609  PMID: 14668047
12.  Editorial 
doi:10.1080/15604280214934
PMCID: PMC2478593
13.  C-Peptide Prevents Hippocampal Apoptosis in Type 1 Diabetes 
To explore mechanisms underlying central nervous system (CNS) complications in diabetes, we examined hippocampal neuronal apoptosis and loss, and the effect of C-peptide replacement in type 1 diabetic BB/W rats. Apoptosis was demonstrated after 8 months of diabetes, by DNA fragmentation, increased number of apoptotic cells, and an elevated ratio of Bax/Bcl-xL, accompanied by reduced neuronal density in the hippocampus. No apoptotic activity was detected and neuronal density was unchanged in 2-month diabetic hippocampus, whereas insulin-like growth factor (IGF) activities were impaired. In type 1 diabetic BB/W rats replaced with C-peptide, no TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)- positive cells were shown and DNA laddering was not evident in hippocampus at either 2 or 8 months. C-peptide administration prevented the preceding perturbation of IGF expression and reduced the elevated ratio of Bax/Bcl-xL. Our data suggest that type 1 diabetes causes a duration-dependent programmed cell death of the hippocampus, which is partially prevented by C-peptide.
doi:10.1080/15604280214936
PMCID: PMC2478591  PMID: 12546277
14.  Proinsulin C-peptide - A Consensus Statement 
In recent years the physiological role of the proinsulin C-peptide has received increasing attention, focusing on the potential therapeutic value of C-peptide replacement in preventing and ameliorating type 1 diabetic complications. In order to consolidate these new data and to identify the immediate directions of C-peptide research and its clinical usefulness, an International Symposium was held in Detroit, Michigan, on October 20–21, 2000, under the auspices of the Wayne State University/Morris Hood Jr. Comprehensive Diabetes Center. In this communication, we review the cellular, physiological and clinical effects of C-peptide replacement in animal models and in patients with type 1 diabetes. Finally, recommendations are presented as to the most urgent studies that should be pursued to further establish the biological action of C-peptide and its therapeutic value.
doi:10.1155/EDR.2001.145
PMCID: PMC2478543  PMID: 12369718
15.  Has C-Peptide Come of Age? 
doi:10.1155/EDR.2001.81
PMCID: PMC2478539  PMID: 12369719
18.  Elevated Triglycerides Correlate With Progression of Diabetic Neuropathy 
Diabetes  2009;58(7):1634-1640.
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate mechanisms underlying diabetic neuropathy progression using indexes of sural nerve morphometry obtained from two identical randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Sural nerve myelinated fiber density (MFD), nerve conduction velocities (NCVs), vibration perception thresholds, clinical symptom scores, and a visual analog scale for pain were analyzed in participants with diabetic neuropathy. A loss of ≥500 fibers/mm2 in sural nerve MFD over 52 weeks was defined as progressing diabetic neuropathy, and a MFD loss of ≤100 fibers/mm2 during the same time interval as nonprogressing diabetic neuropathy. The progressing and nonprogressing cohorts were matched for baseline characteristics using an O'Brien rank-sum and baseline MFD.
RESULTS
At 52 weeks, the progressing cohort demonstrated a 25% decrease (P < 0.0001) from baseline in MFD, while the nonprogressing cohort remained unchanged. MFD was not affected by active drug treatment (P = 0.87), diabetes duration (P = 0.48), age (P = 0.11), or BMI (P = 0.30). Among all variables tested, elevated triglycerides and decreased peroneal motor NCV at baseline significantly correlated with loss of MFD at 52 weeks (P = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS
In this cohort of participants with mild to moderate diabetic neuropathy, elevated triglycerides correlated with MFD loss independent of disease duration, age, diabetes control, or other variables. These data support the evolving concept that hyperlipidemia is instrumental in the progression of diabetic neuropathy.
doi:10.2337/db08-1771
PMCID: PMC2699859  PMID: 19411614

Results 1-18 (18)