Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is a serious and debilitating complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Despite intense research efforts into multiple aspects of this complication, including both vascular and neuronal metabolic derangements, the only treatment remains maintenance of euglycemia. Basic research into the mechanisms responsible for DN relies on using the most appropriate animal model. The advent of genetic manipulation has moved mouse models of human disease to the forefront. The ability to insert or delete genes affected in human patients offers unique insight into disease processes; however, mice are still not humans and difficulties remain in interpreting data derived from these animals. A number of studies have investigated and described DN in mice but it is difficult to compare these studies with each other or with human DN due to experimental differences including background strain, type of diabetes, method of induction and duration of diabetes, animal age and gender. This review describes currently used DN animal models. We followed a standardized diabetes induction protocol and designed and implemented a set of phenotyping parameters to classify the development and severity of DN. By applying standard protocols, we hope to facilitate the comparison and characterization of DN across different background strains in the hope of discovering the most human like model in which to test potential therapies.
Keywords: NOD, Akita, ob/ob, db/db, outbred mice, nerve conduction velocity, intraepidermal nerve fiber density
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