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Acta Anat (Basel). 1991;142(2):141-6.

Early macrophage infiltration in mice treated with low-dose streptozocin decreases islet superoxide dismutase levels: prevention by silica pretreatment.

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Institute of Anatomy, I School of Medicine, Università di Napoli, Italia.


It has been hypothesized that streptozocin (STZ) given in low doses for 5 consecutive days produces diabetes by induction of peroxidation phenomena similar to those induced by free radicals. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that macrophages are among the first to invade the pancreatic parenchyma and destroy islet B cells supposedly by the release of interleukin-1 that induces free radical formation. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a free radical scavenger present in cells, and islet B cells are known to have extremely low levels of this enzyme. Therefore, our aim was to observe SOD activity concomitantly with the appearance of intra-islet macrophages, in early diabetes induced by low-dose streptozocin (LDS). Silica-pretreated mice showed SOD values which were comparable to those found in control animals. In LDS-only-treated mice we found that SOD levels were decreased even after only 4 days from the last STZ injection and that it is at this time that the first 'recruited' macrophages appear in the islets. Moreover, the SOD levels found at this early stage (animals were still normoglycaemic and therefore not as yet diabetic) were similar to levels found by us in a previous work, in prediabetic Bio Breeding rats, thereby ascribing a crucial factor to the lowering of SOD levels even in LDS-induced diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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