Experimental diabetes in rats is associated with excessive electrolyte loss in the urine, which is further accentuated by pregnancy, particularly of Ca. Supplementation with essential fatty acids and antioxidants has proven beneficial in treating several types of complications, including nephropathy. The present study investigated the effect of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA; 500 mg/kg per day; group DG) and ascorbate (290 mg/kg per day; group DA), alone and in combination (group DGA), as well as ascorbyl-GLA (790 mg/kg per day; group DASG), on urinary electrolyte output and skeletal composition in pregnant streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Urine was collected in metabolism cages before and throughout pregnancy. Diabetic rats (DP) increased their urine volume as compared with control (CP) throughout the experiment, reaching an output of more than 13 times that of the control group by the end of pregnancy (CP 24+/-4, DP 316+/-21, DG 223+/-21, DA 221+/-14, DASG 163+/-17, DGA 220+/-19 ml urine/24 h). Concomitant with increased urine volume was a reduction of urinary Na (CP 47+/-14, DP 22+/-5 mmol/l), K (CP 210+/-34, DP 31+/-1 mmol/l) and Mg (CP 14+/-1, DP 3.8+/-0.2 mmol/l) concentration, but not of Ca concentration (CP 5.4+/-1.5, DP 6.3+/-0.6 mmol/l), and hence total Ca loss was relatively most severe. All the treatments reduced urine volume with no effects on electrolyte concentration as compared with DP, with no significant difference between the treatments. A reduced bone size and bone Ca content was partially ameliorated by the diet supplementation. We have concluded that GLA and ascorbate, alone or in combination, prevent urinary electrolyte loss in pregnant rats and do so by reducing urine production.
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