The exacerbation of the oxidative stress and of the polyol pathway which impair damage myenteric plexus are metabolic characteristics of diabetes. The ascorbic acid (AA) is an antioxidant and an aldose reductase inhibitor, which may act as neuroprotector. The effects of AA supplementation on the density and cellular body profile area (CP) of myenteric neurons in STZ-induced diabetes in rats were assessed. Four groups with five animals each were formed: normoglycemic (C); diabetic (D); AA-treated diabetic (DS) and AA-treated normoglycemic (CS). Dosagen of 50mg of AA were given, three times a week, for each animal (group DS and CS). Ninety days later and after euthanasia, the ileum was collected and processed for the NADPH-diaphorase technique. There were no differences (P>0.05) in the neuronal density among the groups. The CP area was lower (P<0.05) in the DS and CS groups, with a higher incidence of neurons with a CP area exceeding 200µm² for groups C and D. The AA had no influence on the neuronal density in the ileum but had a neuroprotective effect, preventing the increase in the CP area and allowing a higher number of neurons with a CP area with less than 200µm².
Vitamin C; diabetes; intestine; myenteric plexus