Role of insulin and the IGF system in renal hypertrophy in diabetic Psammomys obesus (sand rat)

Itamar Raz, Isaiah Wexler, Ofra Weiss, Allan Flyvbjerg, Yael Segev, Ariella Rauchwerger, Gadi Raz, Mogher Khamaisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Diabetic nephropathy is caused by multiple factors related to the altered metabolic environment in diabetes mellitus (DM). Experimental diabetic kidney disease is characterized by renal hypertrophy associated with increased tissue concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). To assess the specific roles of serum insulin and glucose in mediating the development of diabetic nephropathy, the effects of both hyperinsulinaemic and hypoinsulinaemic DM were studied in Psammomys obesus (sand rat), a model of type 2 DM. Methods. The IGF-I system was studied in normal Psammomys obesus gerbils and at 5, 15 and 70 days after the induction of either hyper- or hypoinsulinaemic DM. To induce hyperinsulinaemic DM, Psammomys were raised on a high-energy diet. Hypoinsulinaemic DM was induced by either administration of streptozotocin or a specially designed diet. Results. Hyperinsulinaemic hyperglycaemic Psammomys did not exhibit renal hypertrophy (unchanged kidney/body-weight ratio) and renal IGF-I levels were in the normal range on days 5, 15 and 70. In contrast, Psammomys with hypoinsulinaemic hyperglycaemia induced either by streptozotocin injection or by pancreas exhaustion brought on by a long-term caloric excess diet, had significant increases in kidney/body-weight ratio which were associated with elevated renal IGF-I and mRNA and protein levels of kidney IGF binding protein I. Conclusions. This study shows that serum insulin levels in the presence of hyperglycaemia have an important role in the development of experimental diabetic nephropathy in the Psammomys model. The implication of this finding is that the pathophysiological mechanisms for diabetic kidney disease in experimental models may be different for type 1 and type 2 DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1298
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • Insulin
  • Insulin-like growth factor I
  • Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins
  • Psammomys obesus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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