SUMMARY

The spinal cord is a relatively understudied target of diabetes. In this chapter an overview of the anatomy of the spinal cord and its associated structures is presented before reviewing the published literature describing evidence for structural damage to the spinal cord reported in both diabetic patients and animal models of diabetes. Spinal cord pathology is accompanied by functional disorders and diabetic rodents are being increasingly used to investigate the neurochemi-cal and molecular mechanisms that contribute to impaired structure and function. The aetiological mechanisms that lead from hyperglyacemia to disruption of spinal cord structure and function are only beginning to be explored. The growing appreciation of the role that the spinal cord plays in modulating sensory input to and motor output from the central nervous system should prompt wider interest in diabetes-induced spinal cord injury that will complement studies of diabetic encephalopathy and peripheral neuropathy.

Key Words: Diabetes; hyperglycemia; myelopathy; neuropathology; neuropathy; painful neuropathy radiculopathy; sensory processing; spinal cord.

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