The guinea pig as an animal model of diabetes mellitus

Lab Anim Sci. 1977 Oct;27(5 Pt 2):789-805.


Spontaneous diabetes mellitus, observed in a colony of guinea pigs, parallels in many ways the syndrome known as juvenile diabetes mellitus in man: elevated blood glucose levels; reproductive dysfunction in the female; degranulation and severe cytoplasmic vacuolation of beta cells, severe fatty degeneration of acinar cells, and hyperplasia of the islets of the pancreas; and a high frequency of abnormal pancreatic secretions. Islet-cell necrosis and insulinitis usually seen in viral infections was not observed. Microangiopathy, another characteristic of juvenile diabetes mellitus in man was demonstrated as a significant increase in the thickness of the basal membranes in peripheral capillaries. A glomerular lesion encountered in some of the diabetic guinea pigs was shown to be similar to the glomerular sclerosis seen in human diabetics. Although a definitive etiologic agent was not identified, the disease was clearly contagious in origin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Glycosuria
  • Guinea Pigs*
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Kidney Glomerulus / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / ultrastructure
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Rodent Diseases* / etiology
  • Rodent Diseases* / pathology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase