Ascorbic Acid Helps Stop Neurodegeneration in Diabetic Mice

Early studies on mice with diabetes suggest that the administration of ascorbic acid helps prevent against common neurological damage associated with the disease.

Diabetes mellitus, which encompasses both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, can in both instances result in hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar). Chronic hyperglycemia is known to cause various problems, such as kidney failure, blindness (retinopathy), and neurodegeneration (diabetic neuropathy). The current study investigated the effect that ascorbic acid might have on limiting neurodegeneration caused by diabetes.

Healthy, diabetic, and diabetic mice being treated with ascorbic acid (AA), were the three groups investigated in the study. Following the 120 day study, the rats faced execution, in order to analyze their nervous systems. The goal was the look at the number of neurons (specifically, “myenteric” neurons), within each group, and see if their was less degeneration in the mice who took AA.

The results showed a 14% increase in “neuronal density,” in the diabetic mice being treated with AA over that of the diabetic mice not taking AA. This was considered by the researchers as “moderate neuroprotection.” While this is a positive finding, it’s going to be difficult to extend to humans without a new way of researching (a major obstacle lies in the fact that researchers can’t just kill humans after they’re done studying them). Nonetheless, this first step is a necessary one, and could potentially be the starting point for novel treatments that limit diabetic-induced neurodegeneration.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Li, Lau-Fu. World Journal of Gastroenterology news release. November 2008.