The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) – a novel animal model for the study of diabetes mellitus
Sammanfattning: The bank vole (Microtus arvalis) develops glucose intolerance both when kept in captivity and in the wild state. Glucose intolerant bank voles kept in captivity exhibited polydipsia, polyuria, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, islet autoantibodies and a markedly changed islet structure resembling so–called hydropic degeneration. Islets showing hydropic degeneration have reduced ?–cell mass. However, the relative islet size to total pancreas area was not changed.Pancreatic islet isolated from glucose intolerant bank voles had an altered islet function showing signs of being exposed to an increased functional demand on their ?–cells. Also, islets from male bank voles seem more affected than the islets from females. Islets isolated from glucose tolerant male bank voles cultured for 5 days at 28 mM glucose did not reveal any change in insulin gene expression or insulin biosynthesis rate. However, islets from female bank voles displayed a glucose concentration dependent response. This suggests that there is gender difference in that, islets of female more easily than islets of males adapt to elevated glucose concentration. Furthermore, islets isolated from glucose tolerant males had reduced insulin gene expression after exposure to proinflammatory cytokines for 48 hrs. This effect seemed to be NO-independent since only a minor elevation of nitrite accumulation in the medium was seen, and the use of iNOS inhibitor could not counteract the cytokine effect. The observed response seen in bank vole islets upon exposure to various glucose concentrations or proinflammatory cytokines is similar to those seen in studies of human islets. The bank vole may therefore represent a novel animal model for the study of diabetes. An unresolved issue is the role of the Ljungan virus which is found in the bank vole colony.Bank voles developing glucose intolerance display features of both human type 1 and type 2 diabetes, where environmental factors seems to play an important role as determinant. Our findings suggest that bank voles bred in the laboratory may develop more of a type 2 diabetes. However, bank voles caught in nature instead may rather develop a type 1 form of the disease.
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