Safe induction of diabetes by high-dose streptozotocin in pigs

Hidetaka Hara, Yih Jyh Lin, Xiaocheng Zhu, Hao Chih Tai, Mohamed Ezzelarab, A. N. Balamarugan, Rita Bottino, Stuart L. Houser, David K.C. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Streptozotocin (STZ) has been widely used to induce diabetes in rodents and nonhuman primates, but it has been found difficult to achieve a completely diabetic state in pigs in the absence of detrimental side effects. As a result, pancreatectomy has been advocated in this species. We have investigated the effects of 2 dosages of STZ to safely induce diabetes in pigs. METHODS: Three pigs received Zanosar STZ at 150 mg/kg (group 1). Four pigs received Zanosar STZ at 200 mg/kg (group 2). The levels of glucose, insulin, and C-peptide when (a) fasting, (b) 30 minutes after eating, and (c) during intravenous glucose tolerance tests (IVGTTs) were measured in all pigs for 4 weeks after STZ injection. To confirm how long the diabetic state can be maintained after induction with STZ, levels were measured for 20 weeks in group 2. RESULTS: One to 4 weeks after STZ administration, in group 1 (150 mg/kg) pigs, insulin and C-peptide levels were detected up to 7 μIU/mL and 0.4 ng/mL, respectively, both when fasting and after a meal test or IVGTT, indicating that the pigs had failed to become fully diabetic. In group 2 (200 mg/kg) pigs, insulin and C-peptide levels were less than the 2 μIU/mL and 0.25 ng/mL respective detection levels and did not increase after a meal test or IVGTT. Group 2 remained completely diabetic for the entire 20-week period of follow-up, without STZ-related hepatic or renal dysfunction. CONCLUSIONS: High-dose (200 mg/kg) Zanosar STZ induces diabetes safely and completely in pigs without side effects. Pancreatectomy can, therefore, be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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