Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to frank diabetes: Dietary manipulations in WNIN/GR-Ob rats


Background: Several rodent models are available to study obesity and obesity associated diabetic problems. We developed an obese mutant rat model viz., WNIN/GR-Ob from our existing WNIN (Inbred Wistar) stock of rats, which exhibit hyperglycemia on challenge with oral glucose. Since such impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is a fore runner to frank diabetes status, we carried out a study to challenge the animals with different purified carbohydrate sources (glucose, sucrose, starch) and see the outcome. Methods: 48 obese rats of both genders and equal number of lean littermates of 35 days of age were taken for the study and were divided in to four groups, A, B, C, and D. A group received purified glucose based diet, B, received purified sucrose, C, received purified starch and the D, served as the control, receiving standard laboratory rat chow developed at our centre, containing roasted bengal gram as the source of carbohydrate. All diets were isocaloric in nature and contained 56 % carbohydrate in principle. Animals were fed for 8 weeks and parameters like food intake, body weights, and plasma glucose and insulin levels were measured in experimental and control rats at initial, 4 weeks and 8 weeks. Results: As expected, food intake, body weight and feed efficiency ratio were significantly higher in obese rats of all groups as compared to their lean littermate controls and also higher in stock diet, compared to purified diets. Both lean and obese animals showed higher values of glucose and insulin on purified diets compared to control diet. But amongst lean and obese animals, the latter showed sexual dimorphism in their response, the situation being worse in starch fed (C) group. Amongst the obese animals, the males seem to suffer more, compared to females, in starch fed group, followed by glucose and sucrose fed in that order. Conclusions: WNIN/ GR-Ob rats thus seem to be a useful animal model, vulnerable to diet manipulations, especially to carbohydrates. This has the potential to be used as a diabetic model, more akin to human systems, where diet is the major trigger for precipitating diabetes.

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Harishankar, N. , Seshadri, E. , Kalyanasundaram, S. and Giridharan, N. (2012) Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to frank diabetes: Dietary manipulations in WNIN/GR-Ob rats. Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, 2, 52-58. doi: 10.4236/jdm.2012.21009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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