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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1983 May;68(3):375-9.

Effects of the rodenticide Vacor on cultured rat pancreatic beta cells.


Human ingestion of the rodenticide Vacor has been implicated in the onset of diabetes mellitus. We report here studies of the effects of Vacor on cultured rat pancreatic beta cells and fibroblasts to determine if this agent preferentially intoxicates insulin-producing beta cells. Cytotoxicity in beta cells was monitored both by phase contrast microscopy and the release of insulin into the culture medium. Changes in cellular protein were correlated with morphologic observations to determine fibroblast viability. Beta cells were 10-fold more sensitive to the toxic effects of Vacor than were fibroblasts. Vacor toxicity was reduced by treatment with nicotinamide but was unchanged by 3-O-methyl glucose. Both of these agents reduced the toxic effects of the known beta cell poison streptozotocin. The present studies indicate that Vacor possesses a toxic affinity for pancreatic beta cells and that its mechanism of toxicity may be similar but not identical to that of streptozotocin.

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