Diabetic autonomic peripheral neuropathy (PN) involves a broad spectrum of organs. One of them is the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of digestive complications are not yet fully understood. Digestion is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) within the wall of the GI tract. Enteric neurons exert regulatory effects due to the many biologically active substances secreted and released by enteric nervous system (ENS) structures. These include nitric oxide (NO), produced by the neural nitric oxide synthase enzyme (nNOS). It is a very important inhibitory factor, necessary for smooth muscle relaxation. Moreover, it was noted that nitrergic innervation can undergo adaptive changes during pathological processes. Additionally, nitrergic neurons function may be regulated through the synthesis of other active neuropeptides. Therefore, in the present study, using the immunofluorescence technique, we first examined the influence of hyperglycemia on the NOS- containing neurons in the porcine small intestine and secondly the co-localization of nNOS with vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), galanin (GAL) and substance P (SP) in all plexuses studied. Following chronic hyperglycaemia, we observed a reduction in the number of the NOS-positive neurons in all intestinal segments studied, as well as an increased in investigated substances in nNOS positive neurons. This observation confirmed that diabetic hyperglycaemia can cause changes in the neurochemical characteristics of enteric neurons, which can lead to numerous disturbances in gastrointestinal tract functions. Moreover, can be the basis of an elaboration of these peptides analogues utilized as therapeutic agents in the treatment of GI complications.
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