Basal plasma glucose, glucose tolerance, and insulin secretion were investigated in young and mature athymic nude BALB/c mice and in age-matched controls. Basal plasma glucose levels in male athymic nude mice were similar to those of controls at 1, 3, and 4 wk of age. At 6, 8, and 12 wk of age, male athymic nudes had significantly higher basal plasma glucose levels when compared with controls (P < 0.01). Plasma immunoreactive insulin concentrations were similar in athymic nudes and controls at 1 wk of age, but at 3 wk of age and subsequently at 6, 8, and 12 wk athymic nude mice had significantly decreased insulin levels when compared with their age-matched controls (P < 0.05).

We found impaired glucose tolerance in male athymic nude mice at all age groups when compared with both female athymic nudes and control BALB/c mice.

The discovery of a spontaneous diabetic syndrome (hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance, and decreased insulin secretion) in a colony of athymic nude mice may provide an excellent model for studying the genetics and interactions between the immune and endocrine systems.

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