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Research explains role of alpha lipoic acid in treatment of diabetic neuropathy

October 21 2016. Buck Institute researchers have identified a sensor in the body for methylgloxal (MGO), a compound formed from glucose that reacts with protein, DNA and lipids to form advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) implicated in diabetic neuropathy and other diabetes complications. The sensor—a protein known as TRPA1 and its pathway--responds to high levels of MGO and detoxifies it. In a genetically modified roundworm (C. elegans) model of diabetic neuropathy, adding alpha lipoic acid or podocarpic acid to their diets increased TRPA-1 activity.

"TRP (transient receptor potential) ion channels are evolutionarily conserved proteins that function in sensing many stimuli," explained Jyotiska Chaudhuri, PhD, who, along with Neelanjan Bose, PhD, is a co-first author of the report. "Of them, TRPA1 is a well-known mechanosensory receptor that responds to many noxious stimuli - including pain. Because our model exhibited mechanosensory phenotypes we examined if it played a role in diabetic neuropathy."

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