Streptozotocin is responsible for the induction and progression of renal tumorigenesis in diabetic wistar-furth rats treated with insulin or transplanted with agarose encapsulated porcine islets
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
Streptozotocin (STZ), a nitrosourea with DNA alkylating properties, has been widely used to induce hyperglycemia by specifically destroying the insulin-producing β-cells of the islets of Langerhans in experimental models of Type I diabetes. STZ's known carcinogenic properties, however, raise concerns about its suitability for long-term studies. We conducted a formal study of STZ's carcinogenic effects in long-term surviving diabetic Wistar-Furth rats. To determine if insulin therapy or islet transplantation exacerbated tumorigenesis, rats were randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups: normal animals with no treatment (Group 1, n=12); normal animals that underwent peritoneal implantation of porcine islets encapsulated in a double layer of agarose to form islet macrobeads (normal + islets; group 2, n=12); STZ treatment followed by daily exogenous insulin (STZ + insulin; group 3, n=18) and STZ treatment followed by the intraperitoneal implantation of porcine islet macrobeads (STZ + islets; group 4, n=14). At 215 days post-STZ induction, no renal proliferative lesions were observed in animals that did not receive STZ (group 1 and group 2) whereas adenoma incidences of 57% for group 3 and 34% for group 4 were observed. By terminal necropsy at day 351, the incidence and severity of renal proliferative lesions increased with tubular carcinoma observed in 67% of group 3 and 60% of group 4 animals. We conclude that the STZ-induced diabetic rat model is not suitable for long-term studies because of progressive renal tumorigenesis. Our experiments also demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of porcine islet macrobeads for the treatment of diabetes.