Studying the effects of a novel drug (NS-009) in the treatment of diabetes using animal models

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Introduction

A collection of metabolic disorders in which hyperglycemia stands out as their characteristic feature is generally known as the diabetes mellitus. The most common causes leading to this hyperglycemic blood levels include defective insulin secretion, its absorption and action in the cell, or sometime both of these. The long term consequences of the diabetic chronic hyperglycemia include initially damage and dysfunction which ultimately can lead to the failure, if uncontrolled, of various organs such as kidneys, heart, blood vessels, eyes and nerves (Unnikrishnan et al., 2016, Nathan, 2015).

Hyperglycemia can also be identified with some of its most obvious symptoms which include blurred vision, sudden weight loss or gain, polyphagia, polydipsia and polyuria. In addition to these, growth impairment also occurs in some cases while in others there is an increases susceptibility of various infections along with slower healing times of the body. There are two major types of diabetes – type I and type II – with the former known by the β-cells’ destruction while the latter being characterised by the insulin resistance of the tissues as well as its secretion deficits (American Diabetes, 2009). 

Diabetes development in a person includes activity of several pathogenic processes. The most common of these is the destruction of pancreatic β-cells via the action of autoimmune cells on them. Consequently, there is deficiency of insulin in the body as the main source of insulin production is destroyed. In other instances of diabetes, some abnormal body processes result in an overall increased resistance of the body to the insulin, thereby creating an insulin deficiency situation in the disease condition despite the availability of the insulin. This inadequacy of insulin in either way, results in the anomalous metabolism of the tissue carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism as well. Also, it is a common occurrence of both the diminished insulin production along with its increases tissue resistance in a same patient, in this manner making the identification of the primary cause of diabetes even harder (Wilcox, 2005, Cerf, 2013).

Although may drugs are currently available and in use by the public for the management of diabetes, still there is always a need for the development and identification of novel drugs so as to find more efficient ones among all. Therefore, the current study was designed to find the effects of a novel drug NS-009 on the production of glucose and insulin using rat models. The rat models have been used for this study as they share 90% genome identity with the human genome and thus can serve as appropriate substitutive models for human studies before clinical trial can begin.

Material and methods

Before starting the experiment on animal models of diabetes, an approval was taken from the Animal Ethics Committee of Australia. The experiment was designed to be completed within a timeframe of 4 weeks. 

Animal selection and maintenance

A total number of 18 sprague-dawley rats were taken and divided into 3 groups of 6 rats each. Also, the rats taken for this study were all of same gender i.e., males, to avoid gender based differences which might arise in the results and hence may create ambiguity. 

The animals were kept in cages with each cage representing 1 group of 6 rats. An appropriate bedding was provided for the rats with food and water available ad libitum. This provision of food and water was maintained only for the first week of the experiment. Also, the rats were kept in 12 hours light dark cycle with environmental temperatures maintained to around 22 + or – 1 °C.

Experimental groups and diet

During the first week of the experiment, all three groups of animals were given the normal diet followed by high fat diet to groups 2 and 3 during the 2nd week while maintain the normal diet for the first group which is serving as a control group for this experimental design. In the final weeks of the experiment i.e., 3rd and 4th weeks, the group 4 of rats was given the treatment with the novel drug NS-009. In this way, the division of the animal groups is as follows: group 1 – control group; group 2 – diabetic type group; and group 3 – NS-009 treatment group with diabetes type.

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