Oral salmon calcitonin attenuates hyperglycaemia and preserves pancreatic beta-cell area and function in Zucker diabetic fatty rats

Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Sep;167(1):151-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01979.x.


Background and purpose: Oral salmon calcitonin (sCT), a dual-action amylin and calcitonin receptor agonist, improved glucose homeostasis in diet-induced obese rats. Here, we have evaluated the anti-diabetic efficacy of oral sCT using parameters of glycaemic control and beta-cell morphology in male Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, a model of type 2 diabetes.

Experimental approach: Male ZDF rats were treated with oral sCT (0.5, 1.0 or 2 mg·kg(-1) ) or oral vehicle twice daily from age 8 to 18 weeks. Zucker lean rats served as control group. Fasting and non-fasted blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and levels of pancreas and incretin hormones were determined. Oral glucose tolerance test and i.p. glucose tolerance test were compared, and beta-cell area and function were evaluated.

Key results: Oral sCT treatment dose-dependently attenuated fasting and non-fasted hyperglycaemia during the intervention period. At the end of the study period, oral sCT treatment by dose decreased diabetic hyperglycaemia by ∼9 mM and reduced HbA1c levels by 1.7%. Furthermore, a pronounced reduction in glucose excursions was dose-dependently observed for oral sCT treatment during oral glucose tolerance test. In addition, oral sCT treatment sustained hyperinsulinaemia and attenuated hyperglucagonaemia and hypersecretion of total glucagon-like peptide-1 predominantly in the basal state. Lastly, oral sCT treatment dose-dependently improved pancreatic beta-cell function and beta-cell area at study end.

Conclusions and implications: Oral sCT attenuated diabetic hyperglycaemia in male ZDF rats by improving postprandial glycaemic control, exerting an insulinotropic and glucagonostatic action in the basal state and by preserving pancreatic beta-cell function and beta-cell area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Calcitonin / administration & dosage*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / blood
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Hyperglycemia / pathology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
  • salmon calcitonin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Calcitonin