• diabetes mellitus;
  • diabetic neuropathy;
  • G protein;
  • PKC


We examined the hypothesis that decreased inhibitory G protein function in diabetic neuropathy is associated with increased protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation of the G subunit. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were studied between 4 and 8 weeks after onset of diabetes and compared with aged-matched healthy animals as controls. Opioid-mediated inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP was significantly less in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) from diabetic rats compared with controls. Activation of PKC in DRGs from control rats was associated with a significant decrease in opioid-mediated inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP that was similar to the decrease in inhibition observed in DRGs from diabetic rats. Both basal and PKC-mediated labeling of G with 32Pi was significantly less in DRGs from diabetic rats, supporting increased endogenous PKC-dependent phosphorylation of G. Probing of immunoprecipitated G with an anti-phospho-serine/threonine specific antibody revealed a significant increase in baseline phosphorylation in diabetic DRGs. Activation of PKC produced a significant increase in phosphorylation in control DRGs but no significant increase in G in diabetic DRGs. Phosphorylation of PKC-α was increased, PKC-βII was unchanged and PKC-δ decreased in diabetic DRGs. These results suggest that diminished inhibitory G protein function observed in DRGs neurons from diabetic rats involves an isoform-specific PKC-dependent pathway.