The first purpose of this article is to examine general signaling transduction processes that become deranged in diabetes and the means by which they damage cells. However, among the cells that can be damaged by diabetes, the primary sensory neurons, also known as dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, are uniquely sensitive. Damage to these cells results in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), one of the costliest and most common diabetic complications. Therefore, the second purpose of this article is to focus attention on factors that make these cells particularly vulnerable to hyperglycemic damage. Some clinical inferences are drawn from these considerations. Finally, limitations in our knowledge about the effects of diabetes on signaling in DRG neurons are illustrated in an overview of the basic research literature.

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