Maltol, a food flavor enhancer, attenuates diabetic peripheral neuropathy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats
Scope: Maltol (3-hydroxy-2-methy-4-pyrone), a potent antioxidative agent, typically is used to enhance flavor and preserve food. This study evaluated its effects on preventing diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats and explored its mechanisms. Methods and results: We intraperitoneally injected Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats with STZ (65 mg kg−1, ip) and treated the rats with different doses of maltol after 4 weeks of injection. During treatment, we evaluated motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) and thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia and assayed the oxidative stress, Na+–K+-ATPase activity, and apoptosis. Repeated treatment with maltol for 12 weeks significantly improved thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia, increased the MNCV, elevated the Na+–K+-ATPase activity, and ameliorated oxidative stress and apoptosis in STZ-induced diabetic rats. We coincubated RSC96 cells, a Schwann cell line, with maltol and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 0.6 mM). Evidently, maltol increased cell viability and inhibited apoptosis after injury by H2O2. Conclusions: Maltol was demonstrated to prevent DPN development and may provide a new alternative for the treatment of DPN.