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Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Jun;166(3):877-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01911.x.

The use of animal models in diabetes research.

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Diabetes Research Group, King's College London, London, UK.


Diabetes is a disease characterized by a relative or absolute lack of insulin, leading to hyperglycaemia. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is due to an autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells, and type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance coupled by a failure of the beta cell to compensate. Animal models for type 1 diabetes range from animals with spontaneously developing autoimmune diabetes to chemical ablation of the pancreatic beta cells. Type 2 diabetes is modelled in both obese and non-obese animal models with varying degrees of insulin resistance and beta cell failure. This review outlines some of the models currently used in diabetes research. In addition, the use of transgenic and knock-out mouse models is discussed. Ideally, more than one animal model should be used to represent the diversity seen in human diabetic patients.

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