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Open Access Induction of Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus in Laboratory Rats by Use of Alloxan: Route of Administration, Pitfalls, and Insulin Treatment

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Uncertainties have existed regarding the systematic induction and management of drug-induced diabetes mellitus (DM). Issues have included the optimal route of administration of the drug, methods of reducing drug toxicosis and mortality, how to induce type-1 versus type-2 DM, and how to manage labile DM in rats. In attempting to induce type-1 DM in Sprague-Dawley rats, we classified hyperglycemic animals as having type-1 DM only if their post-treatment blood ketone concentration was high. We found that multiple doses of alloxan led to significantly higher mortality than did a single dose. A single high dose (200 mg/kg of body weight given intraperitoneally) was the best treatment and led to 70% incidence of type-1 DM and only 10% mortality. In contrast, intravenous administration of similar doses was toxic. Assiduous management of alloxan-induced DM is crucial to avoid severe hypoglycemia from massive insulin release and to avoid diabetic ketoacidosis. Frequent glucose monitoring and appropriate administration of carbohydrate and fluids is necessary during this stage. For long-term management, daily administration of long-acting insulin (glargine) appears to be safe and effective. Rapid-acting insulins reduce glucose concentration rapidly, and must be used with caution. If specific precautions are observed, intraperitoneal administration of high-dose alloxan to laboratory rats leads to a condition that closely resembles human type-1 DM.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Legacy Clinical Research and Technology Center, 1225 NE 2nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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