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Pancreas. 1995 Mar;10(2):148-53.

Preserved beta-cell density in the endocrine pancreas of young, spontaneously diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats.

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1
Department of Endocrinology, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

The Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat represents a spontaneous animal model of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) characterized by impaired glucose-stimulated insulin release from the pancreatic beta cells. To study whether an alteration in their islet beta-cell numbers occurs in parallel with the impairment of insulin secretion in this model, the relative volume density of beta cells was determined by means of conventional point sampling in immunostained 4-microns-thick sections of the pancreata from 8-week-old GK rats. The pancreata of nondiabetic Wistar rats were used as control parenchyma. In the GK pancreata the majority of islets was found to have a normal structure; only a few of the islets demonstrated an irregular shape (starfish-shaped islets) with fibrosis. The relative volume of the total endocrine parenchyma was found to be 2.0 +/- 0.6% (mean +/- SEM) of the whole pancreatic parenchyma in GK rats. In the control rats the corresponding value was 2.3 +/- 0.5%. The islet beta-cell density was also similar in GK and control rat islets, amounting to 75.2 +/- 8.5 and 66.9 +/- 6.6%, respectively. Thus, the total relative volume of beta cells was 1.5 +/- 0.5% in GK rats and 1.6 +/- 0.4% in controls. In conclusion, the density of beta cells is preserved in the pancreata of the young, diabetic GK rats, suggesting the absence of a causal relationship between the relative pancreatic beta-cell volume and the impaired glucose-induced insulin secretion in this NIDDM animal model.

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