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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 256707, 11 pages
Review Article

Animal Models of Diabetes Mellitus for Islet Transplantation

1Division of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan
2Division of International Cooperation for Disaster Medicine, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan

Received 19 November 2012; Accepted 12 December 2012

Academic Editor: Tomohiko Sasase

Copyright © 2012 Naoaki Sakata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Due to current improvements in techniques for islet isolation and transplantation and protocols for immunosuppressants, islet transplantation has become an effective treatment for severe diabetes patients. Many diabetic animal models have contributed to such improvements. In this paper, we focus on 3 types of models with different mechanisms for inducing diabetes mellitus (DM): models induced by drugs including streptozotocin (STZ), pancreatomized models, and spontaneous models due to autoimmunity. STZ-induced diabetes is one of the most commonly used experimental diabetic models and is employed using many specimens including rodents, pigs or monkeys. The management of STZ models is well established for islet studies. Pancreatomized models reveal different aspects compared to STZ-induced models in terms of loss of function in the increase and decrease of blood glucose and therefore are useful for evaluating the condition in total pancreatomized patients. Spontaneous models are useful for preclinical studies including the assessment of immunosuppressants because such models involve the same mechanisms as type 1 DM in the clinical setting. In conclusion, islet researchers should select suitable diabetic animal models according to the aim of the study.