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By Selma Sahin and Tugba Gulsun

Selma SahinTugba GulsunDiabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by high blood glucose levels resulting from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin. Diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Thus it adversely affects the patient’s quality of life.

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. On the other hand, about 90% of people who have diabetes have type 2, and it is often diagnosed later in life. Incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide because the world population is aging, physical activity is decreasing, and obesity is increasing. In 2014, there were 387 million diabetic patients around the world, and this number is expected to reach 592 million in 2035. Type 2 diabetes was responsible for more than 4.9 million deaths in 2014 and this number is increasing steadily. The money spent for the diagnosis, treatment, and complications of diabetes is a big burden on the world economy.

Because of the increase in diabetes and diabetes-related deaths, the studies on diabetes have been increased dramatically. Experimental animal models were developed for diabetes mellitus and are very beneficial for understanding the complex nature of the disease. In animals, you can induce diabetes by partial removal of the pancreas or by the administration of some diabetogenic drugs such as alloxan and streptozotocin. In general, diabetogenic drugs are used for this purpose. The critical question is: If you use them, what type of diabetes develops? The answer is a bit confusing actually.

If you look in the literature, it is even possible to see different types of diabetes reported for the same diabetogenic drug (e.g., streptozotocin). Therefore, the purpose of our study was to investigate the type of diabetes in rats after injecting single dose of streptozotocin (65 mg/kg) or nicotinamide/ streptozotocin (110 mg/kg /65 mg/kg). Six hours after injection, it was important to give 10% glucose to the animals to prevent hypoglycemia. We measured the changes in body weight and blood glucose levels in rats and histopathologically examined the pancreas to determine the type of diabetes developed. Our results showed that type 1 diabetes was developed by streptozotocin and type 2 diabetes was developed by nicotinamide/streptozotocin. The methods we used for the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be easily used in future diabetes-related studies, which will ultimately help to find treatments or even a cure for diabetes.

This work is being presented on Monday, October 26 at the 2015 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition this week in Orlando.

Selma Sahin is a professor of pharmaceutics at Hacettepe University Faculty of Pharmacy. Her research interests include pharmacokinetics, modeling and simulations, experimental diabetes and cirrhosis, intestinal and liver perfusion studies, drug transporters, and bioavailability and bioequivalence.
Tugba Gulsun is a teaching and research assistant at Hacettepe University, Faculty of Pharmacy; she is studying toward a Ph.D. in the Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics program. Her studies are focused on experimental diabetes, intestinal perfusion, development and optimization of nanocrystals, and cell culture studies.