Variations in rodent models of type 1 diabetes: Islet morphology

Lesya Novikova, Irina V. Smirnova, Sonia Rawal, Abby L. Dotson, Stephen H. Benedict, Lisa Stehno-Bittel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by hyperglycemia due to lost or damaged islet insulin-producing β-cells. Rodent models of T1D result in hyperglycemia, but with different forms of islet deterioration. This study focused on 1 toxin-induced and 2 autoimmune rodent models of T1D: BioBreeding Diabetes Resistant rats, nonobese diabetic mice, and Dark Agouti rats treated with streptozotocin. Immunochemistry was used to evaluate the insulin levels in the β-cells, cell composition, and insulitis. T1D caused complete or significant loss of β-cells in all animal models, while increasing numbers of α-cells. Lymphocytic infiltration was noted in and around islets early in the progression of autoimmune diabetes. The loss of lymphocytic infiltration coincided with the absence of β-cells. In all models, the remaining α- and δ-cells regrouped by relocating to the islet center. The resulting islets were smaller in size and irregularly shaped. Insulin injections subsequent to induction of toxin-induced diabetes significantly preserved β-cells and islet morphology. Diabetes in animal models is anatomically heterogeneous and involves important changes in numbers and location of the remaining α- and δ-cells. Comparisons with human pancreatic sections from healthy and diabetic donors showed similar morphological changes to the diabetic BBDR rat model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number965832
JournalJournal of Diabetes Research
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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