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Diabetes developed in freshwater fish

Indians have succeeded in inducing the most common type II diabetes in a fish, which could turn out to be a convenient animal model to treat the disease.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 18:46 IST

Indian scientists have succeeded in inducing the most prevalent type2 diabetes in a freshwater fish, which could turn out to be a convenient animal model to treat the disease.

The disease, which accounts for 95 per cent cases of the disorder, was induced by feeding the Indian perch (Anabas testudineus) with a compound called palmitate. This compound belongs to a class called free fatty acid, which is among the major reasons for development of diabetes.

Palmitate intake for a prolonged period of 100 days increased the body weight of the animal by more than 60 per cent. Glucose and insulin levels were also elevated more than 2.5 fold in the same time period.

Scientists also found development of insulin resistance, an indicator of type2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which insulin, a chemical produced by the pancreas, is not able to act on glucose leading to accumulation of glucose in the blood.

"Nutritionally induced insulin-resistant perch could be a good model to study type 2 diabetes mellitus," scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata and School of Life Sciences, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, reported in Current Science.

Prof Anoop Misra, a diabetologist from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said the animal could be used in the future for studying new compounds.

Misra said free fatty acids were among the major problems that caused development of diabetes.

It can be easily maintained and bred in laboratory conditions besides which it can also bear surgery stress and recuperate quickly, they said.

Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic disease seriously threatening global human health. The disease signifies normal or more levels of insulin, but its action is inhibited which restricts glucose uptake, causing high levels of sugar in the blood.

More that 95 per cent diabetic patients are type 2 diabetic and the prevalence of this disease has increased recently.

Thus, the disease requires serious attention with pressing need for animal models to pursue development of new therapeutic agents, the scientists said.

Elevated level of free fatty acids is associated with impaired insulin function and is commonly linked with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 18:46 IST