There is an increasing amount of evidence that supports the diabetic complications of the central nervous system structure and function. The cerebellum, which is one of the primary structure derived from the hindbrain, plays an important role in motor control, motor coordination, and non-motor functions, such as cognitive processing. The synapse is a critical structure that regulates neuronal communication, and well-defined afferent and efferent fibre connections in the cerebellum help in maintaining the proper working order. Thus, the present study sought to investigate the long-term effects of diabetes-induced synaptopathy in the cerebellum, using both histological and ultrastructural studies. Twenty Sprague-Dawley male rats were divided randomly into control and diabetic groups, and diabetes was then induced through a single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (60 mg/kg body weight). Six month later, the rats were sacrificed and the cerebellum was removed. Light and electron microscopic examinations showed a degeneration of Purkinje cells (Neuron purkinjense) with shrunken cells, pyknotic nuclei, and synaptopathy, including the reduction in synapse density, number of synaptic vesicles, and maturation of synapses in the molecular layer of diabetic cerebellum. The disruptions in synaptic profiles, which observed in the diabetic condition, could be related to cerebellar dysfunction, thus leading to the defects in coordinated movement, balance, as well as cognitive learning and memory.
KEY WORDS: Cerebellum; Diabetes mellitus; Streptozotocin; Synaptopathy.