Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common metabolic disorders. It is a multifactorial disorder characterized by multisystem involvement and associated with gradually developing end-organ damage in the central nervous system, which is referred to as ‘diabetic encephalopathy’. Oxidative stress is one of the most important mechanisms of diabetic complications.
This work was planned to evaluate and compare the possible protective effects of ginger and α-lipoic acid (ALA) on the cerebellum of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Materials and methods
Thirty adult male albino rats were divided into control and experimental groups. After diabetes induction by STZ, the experimental group was further divided into the untreated diabetic subgroup, the ginger-treated subgroup that received 500 mg of ginger/kg/day orally for 6 weeks, and the ALA-treated subgroup that received 100 mg of ALA/kg/day by intraperitoneal injection for 6 weeks. Sections from the left lobe of the cerebellum were processed for histological staining (H&E), immunohistochemical staining for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), morphometric and statistical studies.
Degeneration, loss, disorganization of Purkinje cells, and decreased granular layer thickness were observed in the untreated subgroup. Vacuolations with vascular congestion and extravasation were detected in the white matter. Moreover, the amount of GFAP immunoreactive astrocytes was increased (reactive gliosis). However, both treated subgroups recorded morphological improvement, with increased number of Purkinje cells and thickness of the granular layer. GFAP-positive astrocytes decreased in both treated subgroups. These findings were confirmed by morphometric and statistical analysis.
This work points to the antioxidant protective effect of ginger and ALA against the oxidative damage of diabetes on the cerebellum. However, ALA has a superior role when compared with ginger in protecting Purkinje cells and ameliorating reactive gliosis.