Male domestic cats that are neutered and overweight are at an increased risk for developing a type-2-like diabetes mellitus. Beneficial effects of 17β-estradiol (E2) on glucose homeostasis may be lost with neutering and thereby account for increased diabetes risk. To evaluate this, adult male neutered overweight cats (n=6) were given daily E2 (1.0 μg/kg) or vehicle (Vh; ethanol, 1.0μL/kg) in a single crossover trial of 14-day periods with a 7-day washout. The E2 and Vh were voluntarily ingested on food. The E2 dosage was determined in a pre-trial to significantly and transiently reduce food intake with no measurable change in plasma E2 concentration. During treatments, physical activity was assessed with collar-mounted accelerometers on days 9-11, and tests of intravenous insulin tolerance and intravenous glucose tolerance were conducted on days 13 and 14, respectively. Over the 14 days, E2 compared to Vh treatment reduced (p=0.03) food intake (- 22%) but not enough to significantly reduce body weight; activity counts were not significantly changed. With E2 compared to Vh treatment, the late-phase plasma insulin response of the glucose tolerance test was less (p=0.03) by 31%, while glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity indexes were not significantly changed. The results indicate that oral E2 at a dosage that moderately affects food intake may reduce insulin requirement for achieving glucose homeostasis in neutered male cats. Further investigation is needed to identify the mechanism underlying the E2 effect.
Wara, A., Hunsucker, S., Bove, K., & Backus, R. (2015). Short-term estrogen replacement effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in at-risk cats for feline diabetes mellitus. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130696