Animal Models in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Research: Pros and Cons

Zainab Zakaria, Mousa Numan Ahmad, Nidal Qinna


Worldwide, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) continues to rise at an alarmingly high rate, constituting one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Research is central to the investigation, creation, and design of new therapeutic approaches for T2DM. For this purpose, not many tests can be conducted on humans; thus, animal models are the only currently available alternative. This article discusses the pros and cons of different animal models used in T2DM research. PubMed, Medline, Science Direct, ADI, and WHO databases were searched through June 2021. Mice and rats are the most widely used models for diabetes studies. Many other animals are also used, such as pigs and non-human primates. Animal models develop diabetes either spontaneously or by using chemical toxins, such as streptozotocin and alloxan, or by surgical or genetic techniques and depict clinical features or related phenotypes of the disease. Although their importance is generally accepted, animal models are criticized for their poor accuracy in predicting human outcomes due to the low rate of translation between preclinical and clinical studies. However, this problem is partly explained by inadequate methodologies and designs in animal trials. It remains to emphasize that animal models add an indispensable value to the basic, clinical, and applied science of T2DM by opening new avenues of research and innovation.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Animal models; Rats; Mice; Pigs; Non-human primates

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