Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 375, Issue 2, pp 483–492 | Cite as

Cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) develops metabolic disorders associated with visceral adipose inflammation and fatty pancreas without obesity

  • Teppei Nakamura
  • Osamu Ichii
  • Takao Irie
  • Hirokazu Kouguchi
  • Kozue Sotozaki
  • Masataka Chihara
  • Yuji Sunden
  • Ken-ichi Nagasaki
  • Osamu Tatsumi
  • Yaser Hosny Ali Elewa
  • Yasuhiro KonEmail author
Regular Article


Obesity induces metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases and has become a global health concern. Recent studies imply that fat accumulation in nonadipose tissue correlates with metabolic disorders. However, there are no suitable animal models to evaluate this phenomenon. This study investigated the characteristics of metabolic disorders found in cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus). Blood biochemical examinations revealed that cotton rats, predominantly males, developed hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and dyslipidemia when fed a normal diet. The islets increased in size through β-cell hyperplasia, which was associated with serum insulin level in both sexes, strongly indicating insulin resistance. In male cotton rats, oxidative stress was observed in β cells, and macrophage infiltration into the visceral white adipose tissue was reported, both of which were associated with serum insulin level without visceral obesity. In contrast, female cotton rats developed hyperinsulinemia without histopathological changes that were reported in males. Adipocytes were found to be accumulated in the pancreas but not in the liver of both sexes during aging. Pancreatic fat accumulation was associated with the serum insulin level only in females. Taken together, cotton rats developed metabolic disorders associated with visceral fat inflammation in the absence of obesity. In addition, pancreatic ectopic fat may also be related to the early stages of these conditions. Thus, the cotton rat may serve as a novel and useful model for metabolic disorders characterized by visceral adipose inflammation and ectopic fat accumulation in the pancreas without obesity.


Cotton rat Ectopic fat Metabolic disorder Obesity Visceral fat inflammation 



We would like to acknowledge Daisuke Nakamura, Saori Nakamura, Shinobu Sato, and Keisuke Yokoyama in Sankyo Labo Service Corporation, Inc., Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, for their assistance in the animal experiments.


This work was partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP18K0703708.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of Hokkaido Institute of Public Health (approval No. K27-03). This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teppei Nakamura
    • 1
    • 2
  • Osamu Ichii
    • 2
  • Takao Irie
    • 3
  • Hirokazu Kouguchi
    • 3
  • Kozue Sotozaki
    • 4
  • Masataka Chihara
    • 2
  • Yuji Sunden
    • 5
  • Ken-ichi Nagasaki
    • 6
  • Osamu Tatsumi
    • 1
  • Yaser Hosny Ali Elewa
    • 2
    • 7
  • Yasuhiro Kon
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Section of Biological Science, Chitose LaboratoryJapan Food Research LaboratoriesChitoseJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Anatomy, Division of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Medical Zoology Group, Department of Infectious DiseasesHokkaido Institute of Public HealthSapporoJapan
  4. 4.Sankyo Labo Service Corporation, Inc.SapporoJapan
  5. 5.Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of AgricultureTottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  6. 6.Section of Biological Safety Research, Tama LaboratoryJapan Food Research LaboratoriesTamaJapan
  7. 7.Department of Histology and Cytology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt

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