Silva-Reis, R., Faustino-Rocha, A. I., Silva, J. et al. 2023. Studying and analyzing humane endpoints in the fructose-fed and streptozotocin-injected rat model of diabetes. Animals 13(8), 1397.

This work aimed to define a humane endpoint scoring system able to objectively identify signs of animal suffering in a rat model of type 2 diabetes. Sprague-Dawley male rats were divided into control and induced group. The induced animals drink a 10% fructose solution for 14 days. Then, received an administration of streptozotocin (40 mg/kg). Animals’ body weight, water and food consumption were recorded weekly. To evaluate animal welfare, a score sheet with 14 parameters was employed. Blood glucose levels were measured at three time points. After seven weeks of initiating the protocol, the rats were euthanized. The induced animals showed weight loss, polyuria, polyphagia, and polydipsia. According to our humane endpoints table, changes in animal welfare became noticeable after the STZ administration. None of the animals hit the critical score limit (four). Data showed that the most effective parameters to assess welfare in this type 2 diabetes rat induction model were dehydration, grooming, posture, abdominal visualization, and stool appearance. The glycemia was significantly higher in the induced group when compared to the controls (p < 0.01). Induced animals’ murinometric and nutritional parameters were significantly lower than the controls (p < 0.01). Our findings suggest that in this rat model of type 2 diabetes with STZ-induced following fructose consumption, our list of humane endpoints is suitable for monitoring the animals’ welfare.

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