Induction of experimental diabetes and diabetic nephropathy using anomer-equilibrated streptozotocin in male C57Bl/6J mice

Sarah E.J. Kamli-Salino* (Corresponding Author), Paul A.J. Brown, Timo N. Haschler, Lihuan Liang, Denis Feliers, Heather M. Wilson, Mirela Delibegovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Streptozotocin (STZ) is widely used to induce experimental diabetes in murine models. However, the ability to induce diabetic nephropathy (DN) is more challenging. It has been recommended to inject STZ at multiple low doses within 15 min after dissolution due to its alleged instability. However, some studies suggest that STZ is stable for days due to equilibration of its two anomers (α and β), 90 min after dissolution, and that this anomer-equilibrated STZ leads to higher survival rates and persistent hyperglycaemia with minimal weight loss. The aim of this study was to determine an optimal dose of anomer-equilibrated STZ to induce kidney tubular damage and compare it with the more commonly used freshly prepared STZ. We hypothesised that anomer-equilibrated STZ provides a better, reproducible experimental model of diabetes-induced kidney damage with improved animal welfare. Body measurements, fasting glycaemia, insulinemia and renal histology were assessed in male C57Bl/6J at two and six months of age treated with fresh (50 mg/kg) or anomer-equilibrated (dose ranging 35–50 mg/kg) STZ or vehicle control. We demonstrated a dose-dependent effect of anomer-equilibrated STZ on the induction of hypo-insulinaemia and hyperglycaemia, as well as body weight in two-month-old mice. Interestingly, in six-month-old mice STZ leads to body weight loss, independently of STZ preparation mode. Anomer-equilibrated STZ provoked moderate to severe kidney tubule structural damage, resulting in significant kidney hypertrophy, whereas freshly prepared STZ only caused mild alterations. In conclusion, our study proposes that anomer-equilibrated STZ provides a robust murine model of diabetes and early-stage diabetic nephropathy, which can be used to test therapeutic approaches to treat and/or prevent renal damage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Elsevier Agreement
This research has been funded by the Medical Research Scotland (PhD-1285-2018), PhD studentship to SEJKS, in partnership with AstraZeneca (Cambridge, United Kingdom).


  • Streptozotocin
  • Experimental diabetes
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Hyperglycaemia


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