Published on February 5, 2013 at 7:40 AM
Findings Suggest Role of Heat Shock Protein
However, diabetic rats assigned to exercise showed increased expression of Hsp72 in nerve tissues. Hsp 72 is one of a family of heat shock proteins that play essential roles in protecting against cellular damage caused by various types of stress (including heat stress). Previous experiments have shown protective effects of Hsp72 in other conditions, including neuropathy caused by mechanical nerve injury.
Exercise is commonly recommended for patients with various types of chronic pain, and is routinely prescribed as part of treatment to control diabetes. A growing body of evidence suggests that exercise may also have beneficial effects in reducing painful diabetic neuropathy.
The new study provides support for the concept that exercise can slow the progression of diabetic neuropathy. In the animal experiments, exercise had short-term effects on abnormal responses to pain and temperature, although long-term responses were unchanged.
The study also adds new evidence that exercise may protect against diabetic neuropathy by suppressing induced blood sugar levels while increasing expression of Hsp72 in nerve tissues. The results may present new opportunities for developing new, nondrug approaches that can "delay or protect against the development of diabetic peripheral nerve complications," Dr Chen and coauthors conclude.
Source: Anesthesia & Analgesia