The receptor-linked pathway is known as the extrinsic pathway and this pathway requires binding of a ligand to a death receptor on the cell surface (4). In this system, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and Fas ligand (FasL) bind to their cell surface death receptors, TNF receptor type 1 and Fas receptor, respectively. Once activated, these receptors recruit the signal-producing moieties TNF receptor type 1-associated death domain, Fas-associated death domain (4), and caspase-8 forming an oligomeric complex called the death-inducing signaling complex. Formation of the death-inducing signaling complex activates the initiator caspase, caspase-8, which then cleaves and activates the effector caspase-3, resulting in PCD (12-14). Although the extrinsic pathway is less well-characterized in diabetic complications, there is evidence of FasL activation in association with diabetic neuropathy. Circulating soluble Fas and soluble FasL, two transmembrane glycoproteins involved in apoptosis are significantly increased in diabetic patients with neuropathy compared with patients without complications or nondi-abetic subjects. However, it is unclear if Fas has a neuronal origin (15).
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