Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Differences in metabolic profiles between the Burmese, the Maine coon and the Birman cat-Three breeds with varying risk for diabetes mellitus

Ohlund, Malin; Mullner, Elisabeth; Moazzami, Ali; Hermansson, Ulrika; Pettersson, Ann; Anderson, Fredrick; Haggstrom, Jens; Hansson-Hamlin, Helene; Holst, Bodil S.


Feline diabetes mellitus shares many features with type 2 diabetes in people, regarding clinical presentation, physiology, and pathology. A breed predisposition for type 2 diabetes has been identified, with the Burmese breed at a fivefold increased risk of developing the condition compared to other purebred cats. We aimed to characterize the serum metabolome in cats (n = 63) using nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics, and to compare the metabolite pattern of Burmese cats with that of two cat breeds of medium or low risk of diabetes, the Maine coon (MCO) and Birman cat, respectively. Serum concentrations of adiponectin, insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 were also measured (n = 94). Burmese cats had higher insulin and lower adiponectin concentrations than MCO cats. Twenty one metabolites were discriminative between breeds using a multivariate statistical approach and 15 remained significant after adjustment for body weight and body condition score. Burmese cats had higher plasma levels of 2-hydroxybutyrate relative to MCO and Birman cats and increased concentrations of 2-oxoisocaproic acid, and tyrosine, and lower concentrations of dimethylglycine relative to MCO cats. The metabolic profile of MCO cats was characterized by high concentrations of arginine, asparagine, methionine, succinic acid and low levels of acetylcarnitine while Birman cats had the highest creatinine and the lowest taurine plasma levels, compared with MCO and Burmese. The pattern of metabolites in Burmese cats is similar to that in people with insulin resistance. In conclusion, the metabolic profile differed between healthy cats of three breeds. Detection of an abnormal metabolome might identify cats at risk of developing diabetes.

Published in

2021, Volume: 16, number: 4, article number: e0249322