Effects of α-lipoic acid on biomarkers of oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

A. C. Maritim, R. A. Sanders, J. B. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

194 Scopus citations


Increased oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense mechanisms are important factors in the pathogenesis and progression of diabetes mellitus and other oxidant-related diseases. This study was designed to determine whether α-lipoic acid, which has been shown to have substantial antioxidant properties, when administered (10 mg/kg ip) once daily for 14 days to normal and diabetic female Sprague-Dawley rats would prevent diabetes-induced changes in biomarkers of oxidative stress in liver, kidney and heart. Serum glucose concentrations, aspartate aminotransferase activity, and glycated hemoglobin levels, which were increased in diabetes, were not significantly altered by α-lipoic acid treatment. Normal rats treated with a high dose of α-lipoic acid (50 mg/kg) survived but diabetic rats on similar treatment died during the course of the experiment. The activity of glutathione peroxidase was increased in livers of normal rats treated with α-lipoic acid, but decreased in diabetic rats after α-lipoic acid treatment. Hepatic catalase activity was decreased in both normal and diabetic rats after α-lipoic acid treatment. Concentrations of reduced glutathione and glutathione disulfide in liver were increased after α-lipoic acid treatment of normal rats, but were not altered in diabetics. In kidney, glutathione peroxidase activity was elevated in diabetic rats, and in both normal and diabetic animals after α-lipoic acid treatment. Superoxide dismutase activity in heart was decreased in diabetic rats but normalized after treatment with α-lipoic acid; other cardiac enzyme activities were not influenced by either diabetes or antioxidant treatment. These results suggest that after 14 days of treatment with an appropriate pharmacological dose, α-lipoic acid may reduce oxidative stress in STZ-induced diabetic rats, perhaps by modulating the thiol status of the cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Antioxidant
  • Diabetes
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rat
  • Streptozotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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