Horm Metab Res 2004; 36(9): 585-594
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-825920
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Insulin-dependent Diabetes and Gut Dysfunction: The BB Rat Model

W.  J.  Malaisse1 , P.  Courtois1 , F.  W.  Scott2
  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Hormonology, Brussels Free University, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada
Further Information

Publication History

Received 12 February 2004

Accepted after revision 24 March 2004

Publication Date:
15 October 2004 (online)


Accumulating data indicate that intestinal dysfunction and dysregulation of the gut immune system may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes. This review deals with the occurrence of gut damage and dysfunction in BB rats, an animal model of spontaneous immune type 1 diabetes, placing special emphasis on the effect of diet on the incidence of diabetes in BB rats, the identification of a type 1 diabetes-related protein from wheat, and preliminary observations documenting anomalies in the inductive tissues of the gut immune system (Peyer's patch cells and mesenteric lymph node cells) and pancreatic lymph node cells of diabetes-prone BB rats. In addition to histological evidence of gut damage, the review will also draw attention to altered intestinal disaccharidase activity, changes in intestinal peroxidase activity, glucagon-like peptide 1 anomalies, and perturbation of both intestinal permeability and mucin content in BB rats. In all these cases, the findings in rats fed a diabetes-promoting diet are compared to those collected in animals receiving a protective diabetes-retardant diet.


1 All quantitative data mentioned in this report refer to the mean values (±SEM), together with the number (n) of individual observations or experiments or corresponding degree of freedom (d.f.).

Prof. W. J. Malaisse

Laboratory of Experimental Hormonology, Brussels Free University

808 Route de Lennik · B-1070 Brussels · Belgium

Email: malaisse@ulb.ac.be