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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 May 2022 - 27 May 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 May 19

Sci Rep



Foretinib mitigates cutaneous nerve fiber loss in experimental diabetic neuropathy.


Daeschler SC, Zhang J, Gordon T, Borschel GH, Feinberg K
Sci Rep. 2022 May 19; 12(1):8444.
PMID: 35589940.


Diabetes is by far, the most common cause of neuropathy, inducing neurodegeneration of terminal sensory nerve fibers associated with loss of sensation, paresthesia, and persistent pain. Foretinib prevents die-back degeneration in cultured sensory and sympathetic neurons by rescuing mitochondrial activity and has been proven safe in prospective clinical trials. Here we aimed at investigating a potential neuroprotective effect of Foretinib in experimental diabetic neuropathy. A mouse model of streptozotocin induced diabetes was used that expresses yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in peripheral nerve fibers under the thy-1 promoter. Streptozotocin-injected mice developed a stable diabetic state (blood glucose > 270 mg/dl), with a significant reduction of intraepidermal nerve fiber density by 25% at 5 weeks compared to the non-diabetic controls. When diabetic mice were treated with Foretinib, a significantly greater volume of the cutaneous nerve fibers (67.3%) in the plantar skin was preserved compared to vehicle treated (37.8%) and non-treated (44.9%) diabetic mice while proximal nerve fiber morphology was not affected. Our results indicate a neuroprotective effect of Foretinib on cutaneous nerve fibers in experimental diabetic neuropathy. As Foretinib treated mice showed greater weight loss compared to vehicle treated controls, future studies may define more sustainable treatment regimen and thereby may allow patients to take advantage of this neuroprotective drug in chronic neurodegenerative diseases like diabetic neuropathy.