Diet-induced diabetes in the sand rat (Psammomys obesus)

Nurit Kaiser*, Erol Cerasi, Gil Leibowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Insulin deficiency is the underlying cause of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes. The gerbil Psammomys obesus (P. obesus) is a naturally insulin resistant rodent with tendency to develop diet-induced hyperglycemia associated with obesity. P. obesus does not exhibit hyperglycemia in its natural desert habitat, feeding on low caloric vegetation. However, when fed regular laboratory chow containing higher caloric density, the animals develop moderate obesity and hyperglycemia. Diabetes development and progression is very fast in P. obesus. The animals reach the irreversible hypoinsulinemic stage of the disease, in which a marked reduction of β-cell mass is apparent, within 4-6 weeks of high caloric diet. The present review describes the P. obesus of the Hebrew University colony, with emphasis on its use for the study of β-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationAnimal Models in Diabetes Research
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781627030670
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Gerbils
  • Insulin content
  • Insulin deficiency
  • Insulin secretion
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proinsulin
  • Proinsulin biosynthesis
  • Proinsulin conversion intermediates
  • Psammomys obesus
  • Sand rat
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • β-Cell dysfunction


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