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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Effects of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in domestic pigs with focus on the amino acid metabolism

Jensen-Waern, M.; Andersson, M.; Kruse, R.; Nilsson, B.; Larsson, R.; Korsgren, O.; Essen-Gustavsson, B.


Streptozotocin (STZ) given intravenously destroys pancreatic beta cells and is widely used in animal models to mimic type 1 diabetes. The effects of STZ on the clinical state of health and metabolism were studied in six high health certified domestic pigs weighing 19 +/- 1.3 kg at the start of the experiment. A single STZ dose of 150 mg/kg of body weight successfully induced hyperglycaemia and alterations in amino acid metabolism. Within 9 h after STZ administration, the blood glucose values fell from 5.4-7.5 mmol/L to 0.8-2.2 mmol/L. Hypoglycaemia was treated with 0.5 g glucose/kg body weight. In all pigs, hyperglycaemia was produced 24 h after STZ treatment, and 3 days after STZ injection, the glucose concentration was >25 mmol/L. Mean C-peptide concentration was 0.25 +/- 0.16 mu g/L since 2 days after STZ injection until the end of the study. The serum concentration of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) increased four-fold, and alanine and taurine decreased by approximately 70% and 50%, respectively, after STZ treatment. All but one pig remained brisk and the physical examination was normal except for a retarded growth rate and a reduction of the skeletal muscle. At the end of the study, the pigs were moderately emaciated. Postmortem examination confirmed muscle wasting and a reduction of abdominal and subcutaneous fat. In conclusion, STZ-induced diabetes in pigs fulfils the requirements for a good animal model for type 1 diabetes with respect to clinical signs of the disease and alterations in the carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism.


Swine; hyperglycaemia; muscle; alanine; branched-chain amino acids

Published in

Laboratory Animals
2009, Volume: 43, number: 3, pages: 249-254