Pioglitazone prevents mice from multiple low-dose streptozotocin-induced insulitis and diabetes

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1999 May;44(2):107-14. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8227(99)00030-3.


Macrophage infiltration into pancreatic islets is thought to be an initial event inducing insulitis in the development of type 1 diabetes. Thiazolidinedione is a direct ligand for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma, recently reported to inhibit macrophage activation, including cytokine production and type 2 nitric oxide synthase expression. We investigated the effect of pioglitazone, a thiazolidinedione compound, on the development of multiple low-dose streptozotocin (MLDS)-induced autoimmune diabetes in mice. CD-1 mice intraperitoneally injected with five daily sub-diabetogenic doses (30 or 40 mg/kg body weight) of streptozotocin developed mononuclear cell infiltration in and around islets, followed by hyperglycemia. Oral administration of pioglitazone (0.01% food admixture) from 7 days before the first streptozotocin injection prevented or delayed the development of diabetes induced by MLDS. Histologically, pioglitazone blocked the infiltration of mononuclear cells into islets in MLDS mice. Peritoneal macrophages from MLDS mice at day-7 produced significantly large amount of nitric oxide compared with those from control mice. Such activation of peritoneal macrophages was not observed in pioglitazone-treated MLDS mice. These findings suggest that pioglitazone blocks the autoimmune process in the development of MLDS diabetes, partly by inhibiting the macrophage activation.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / prevention & control*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pioglitazone
  • Streptozocin
  • Thiazoles / administration & dosage
  • Thiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Thiazolidinediones*
  • Time Factors


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Streptozocin
  • Pioglitazone