, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1189-1196

The LEW.1AR1/Ztm-iddm rat: a new model of spontaneous insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus



We describe a new Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus rat model (LEW.1AR1/Ztm-iddm) which arose through a spontaneous mutation in a congenic Lewis rat strain with a defined MHC haplotype (RT1.A a B/D u C u ).


The development of diabetes was characterised using biochemical, immunological and morphological methods.


Diabetes appeared in the rats with an incidence of 20 % without major sex preference at 58 ± 2 days. The disease was characterised by hyperglycaemia, glycosuria, ketonuria and polyuria. In peripheral blood, the proportion of T lymphocytes was in the normal range expressing the RT6.1 differentiation antigen. Islets were heavily infiltrated with B and T lymphocytes, macrophages and NK cells with beta cells rapidly destroyed through apoptosis in areas of insulitis.


This Type I diabetic rat develops a spontaneous insulin-dependent autoimmune diabetes through beta cell apoptosis. It could prove to be a valuable new animal model for clarifying the mechanisms involved in the development of autoimmune diabetes. [Diabetologia (2001) 44: 1189–1196]

Received: 6 December 2000 and in revised form: 28 May 2001