To identify a female mouse model of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), we characterized DPN in female BTBR ob/ob mice and compared their phenotype to non-diabetic and gender-matched controls. We also identified dysregulated genes and pathways in sciatic nerve (SCN) and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of female BTBR ob/ob mice to determine potential DPN mechanisms.
Terminal neuropathy phenotyping consisted of examining latency to heat stimuli, sciatic motor and sural sensory nerve conduction velocities (NCV), and intraepidermal nerve fiber (IENF) density. For gene expression profiling, DRG and SCN were dissected, RNA was isolated and processed using microarray technology and differentially expressed genes were identified.
Similar motor and sensory NCV deficits were observed in male and female BTBR ob/ob mice at study termination; however, IENF density was greater in female ob/ob mice than their male counterparts. Male and female ob/ob mice exhibited similar weight gain, hyperglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia compared to non-diabetic controls, although triglycerides were elevated more so in males than in females. Transcriptional profiling of nerve tissue from female mice identified dysregulation of pathways related to inflammation.
Similar to males, female BTBR ob/ob mice display robust DPN, and pathways related to inflammation are dysregulated in peripheral nerve.