Could This Ointment Treat Diabetic Neuropathy?

A new study from Northwestern University could mean relief for the countless individuals who suffer from diabetic neuropathy.

The study, published in Molecular Pain, focuses on a chemical known as GM3. Researchers targeted GM3 in diabetic mice.

Originally, the team noticed that those mice, who were obese as well as diabetic, had much higher levels of GM3 compared to healthier mice. Additionally, the diabetic mice showed evidence of nerve pain, similar to neuropathy. "The routine diabetic mice had nerve changes that intensified their pain sensation,” said lead researcher Dr. Amy Paller. “[T]hey experienced a lot of pain with just a light touch.”

However, Paller noted that once the GM3 was depleted in the diabetic mice, “they didn't withdraw their feet (suggesting pain) any more quickly than the mice without diabetes.” This finding is a remarkable breakthrough for the diabetes community; discovering the source of nerve pain caused by neuropathy is likely the beginning of discovering a way to end it.

Human Application

And ending nerve pain is precisely what Paller and her team hope to do. Currently, they are working on an ointment that will not only deplete GM3 levels in humans, but will also deplete GM3 synthase in the nerves – the enzyme that produces GM3.

This ointment takes a novel approach to neuropathy treatment, which up to this point has sought to mask the pain instead of remove it entirely. “Our long-term goal would be to further test safety and advance to human clinical trials to prevent and/or reverse the development of diabetic neuropathy,” Dr. Paller said in the University's press release.

Diabetic neuropathy affects nearly 25 percent of people with diabetes with over 3 million new cases diagnosed each year. A treatment that can really bring an end to the pain, numbness, and other discomfort of this complication would mean a new lease on life for many, many people.

More Articles

More than 71 million Americans suffer from high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases the buildup of...

A study at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that type one diabetes can be prevented in mice.

The Study

Using diabetes-...

Diabetic shoes are important as a common side effect of diabetes is "peripheral neuropathy," which causes loss of sensation in the extremities....

In the search for a diabetes cure, a study stunned even the experts involved. Scientists at a Toronto medical center published findings that...

Bilberry tea sounds like the favorite drink at a Hobbit cafe, but the mild sounding bilberry comes with a tall list of powerful health benefits....

More Articles

The bodies of those who suffer from type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin on their own. For this reason, patients are subject to multiple injections...

When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, many people panic and are concerned that their life is over. In fact, if the...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list. The ebb...

There is a connection between anxiety control, inflammation and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study conducted by Rice University researchers...

The human body needs chromium, a trace mineral, for several essential functions including the normalizing of...

The most well-known variations of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes....

Cooking and baking with the ancient cereal grain sorghum has health benefits for people with diabetes, and those with weight control issues....

Anyone can develop a fungal skin infection, but people with diabetes are more prone to them. A common cause of fungal infections in those with...

Both low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can cause any of a list of reactions in the body. Among these are sleep...

This two-part article was written by Angela Meeks, the mother of 18-year-old Lilly, who was recently (and unexpectedly) diagnosed with Type 1...

Type 1 diabetes can affect individuals of any age, including infants and children. If you find out your baby has diabetes, it is important...

With diabetes, it all used to be really simple: Type 1 diabetes was known as “childhood-onset,” and type 2 was “adult-onset” diabetes. The cause...

Bilberry tea sounds like the favorite drink at a Hobbit cafe, but the mild sounding bilberry comes with a tall list of powerful health benefits....

There’s something inherently playful about bouncing, which is why so many people enjoy rebounding. Rebounding, or exercising on a mini-trampoline...