Chemical diabetes in the adult rat as the spontaneous evolution of neonatal diabetes

Diabetologia. 1979 Dec;17(6):371-7. doi: 10.1007/BF01236272.


Injection of streptozotocin in newborn rats induced a severe diabetic syndrome on day 4 after birth, with acute hyperglycaemia and glycosuria. Over the next 3 weeks spontaneous recovery occurred as attested by normal basal blood glucose and plasma insulin levels. Recovery was, however, incomplete in the adult since a definite impairment in insulin release and glucose disposal was observed. This state was characterized by the following features: 1) a 72% decrease in pancreatic insulin stores without change in pancreatic glucagon stores; 2) a slight but consistent elevation of blood glucose in the fasted and fed basal states and especially of blood glucose 90 min after an IV glucose load (2 g/kg) performed under pentobarbitone anaesthesia; 3) a considerable decline in the glucose-induced insulin release with a decrease in the maximal response. Both early and late phases of insulin release were impaired, as indicated by in vivo glucose infusion experiments. Basal plasma glucagon levels were normal. Over a period of 12 months with a normal laboratory diet no aggravation of the chemical diabetic state was observed. This new experimental syndrome is a potentially interesting model for the study of the influence of environmental factors on the development of overt diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin