Journal of pharmacological and toxicological methods

Modeling long-term diabetes and related complications in rats.

PMID 26589430


Accurate preclinical modeling of diabetic complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy is crucial to enable the development of novel preventative therapies. The aims of this study were to establish a model of long-term diabetes with sustained medium scale hyperglycemia and characterize the pathological changes detectable after 4months, with particular respect to dependence on the degree of hyperglycemia. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic CFY rats were subjected to four different insulin substitution protocols to achieve different levels of glycemic control (Diabetic 1-4 groups). Eyes were investigated by ophthalmoscopy, kidney function by urine analysis, and neuropathy by functional tests. Retinal and renal morphological evaluations were performed by histology, immuno-histochemistry and electron microscopy. Rats of the Diabetic 3 group showed massive hyperglycemia-dependent anterior segment neovascularization, enhanced total retinal score and retinal apoptotic cell number, degeneration of dopaminergic amacrine cells, increased glomerular PAS-positivity, altered excreted total protein/creatinine ratio and cold allodynia, parallel with medium scale hyperglycemia (blood glucose level between 22 and 25mmol/L) and satisfying state of health. We established a treatment protocol in rats enabling complex investigation of diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy on a long-term period. Clearly hyperglycemic dependent parameters of these complications serve as good outcome measures for preclinical trials. Our results provide a useful basis for designing studies for testing preventative treatments as well as other translational medical research in this field.