Short-term estrogen replacement effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in at-risk cats for feline diabetes mellitus

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Abstract

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.

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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

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