Purpose: Preclinical experiments on large animals are indispensable for evaluating the effectiveness of diabetes therapies. Miniature swine are well suited for such studies due to their physiological and pathophysiological responses.
Methods: We compare two methods for inducing diabetes in Goettingen minipigs (GMP), in five with the beta cell toxin streptozotocin (STZ) and in five other GMP by total pancreatectomy (PE). Glucose homeostasis was assessed with the intravenous glucose-tolerance test (IVGTT) and continual monitoring of interstitial glucose levels. At conclusion of the observation period, the pancreata were examined histologically. Three non-diabetic GMP served as control group.
Results: The IVGTT revealed markedly diabetic profiles in both GMP groups. STZ-GMP were found to harbor residual C-peptides and scattered insulin-positive cells in the pancreas. PE-GMP survived the total pancreatectomy only with intensive postoperative care.
Conclusions: Although both methods reliably induced diabetes in GMP, the PE-GMP clearly had more health problems and required a greater expenditure of time and resources. The PE-GMP model, however, was better at eliminating endogenous insulin and C-peptide than the STZ-GMP model.