Compensatory capabilities of islets of BB Wor rats exposed to sustained hyperglycemia

I. Komiya, D. Baetens, M. Kuwajima, L. Orci, Roger H Unger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


To determine if discordance for autoimmune diabetes in genetically homogeneous animals might reflect differences in the compensatory capacity of their β cells, the glycemic responses of diabetes-prone BB Wor rats during a high rate infusion of 50% glucose were compared with normal and with 40% pancreatectomized Wistar rats similarly infused. In all three groups, the initially severe hyperglycemia declined after the first 48 hours to below the target level of 300 mg/dL despite an increasing rate of glucose infusion. The glycemic profile did not differ from controls and was lower than that of the partially depancreatized rats. Five of 20 hyperglycemic BB Wor rats became diabetic during the 12-day infusion of 50% glucose; there was no difference between their glucose profiles and those of the 15 prediabetic BB Wor rats that remained nondiabetic throughout the period of hyperglycemic infusion. The latter group of BB Wor rats, many of which would ultimately have become diabetic, exhibited a 2.4-fold increase in the volume density of their β cells, compared with a 2.1-fold increase in the Wistar controls. This clinical and morphologic evidence of β-cell compensation in diabetes-prone rats, even in on the verge of overt diabetes, excludes the possibility that subnormal compensation by β cells contributes to diabetes in the BB Wor rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-618
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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