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Horm Metab Res. 1998 Nov;30(11):663-7.

Mechanism of the diabetogenic action of cyclosporin A.

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Laboratory of Medical Investigation (LIM 18), University of São Paulo Medical School, SP, Brazil.


To investigate the mechanism of diabetogenic action of cyclosporin A (CsA), 7 male Wistar albino rats received 10 mg/kg/day of the drug for 4 weeks (CsA). The results were compared with controls (C); blood CsA levels measured weekly remained stable throughout the experiment (mean +/- SEM) (X = 2657.9+/-155.1 ng/ml). Intravenous glucose load (0.75 g/kg) performed after 2 weeks of CsA therapy showed glucose intolerance in treated animals as evaluated by the glucose area under the curve (CsA = 409.2+/-17.8 vs. C = 313.3+/-12.6 umol x ml(-1) x min(-1)) (p < 0.05) with insulin levels being similar in the two groups (CsA = 8603.9+/-1645.5 vs. C = 9571.9+/-828.5 pmol x ml(-1) x min(-1)). After 4 weeks of CsA administration, glucose intolerance was maintained (CsA = 398.6+/-35.6 vs. C = 301.7+/-23.0 umol x ml(-1) x min(-1)) (p < 0.05) associated with a significant decrease in insulin secretion (CsA = 4404.9+/-2392.0 vs. C = 10075.9+/-2861.0 pmol x ml(-1) x min(-1) (p < 0.05). These results suggest that CsA induced a state of insulin resistance preceding the failure of insulin secretion. After 4 weeks, the pancreatic insulin content was also decreased (CsA = 0.7+/-0.1 vs. C = 1.4+/-0.5 mU/mg) (p < 0.05). Maximal insulin binding to isolated adipocytes was not affected by CsA (CsA = 7.4+/-2.6 vs. C = 6.4+/-2.0%), although glucose transport and oxidation decreased after CsA treatment (p < 0.05). In conclusion, glucose intolerance induced by CsA in Wistar albino rats is due to decreased insulin production and impaired insulin action by a post-binding mechanism.

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