Diabetes Mellitus in Cats Relevant to Human Type 2 Diabetes – Current Knowledge and New Treatment Strategies – A Review

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Abstract

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most commonly encountered endocrinopathies in domestic cats. Numerous studies have shown that feline diabetes mellitus (FDM) closely resembles human type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a common pathogenesis including insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion as well as the same risk factors. This similarity provides ground for better understanding of their pathogenesis as well as more efficient management, novel treatment and prevention options for the disease in both species. Recently, modulation of the incretin system has become a new area of active investigations by several pharmaceutical companies. Concerning the role of incretins in glucose homeostasis, therapies based on activating the incretin axis have proved highly effective in treating T2DM. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptors agonists and dipeptidylpeptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors have been recently developed agents for diabetes therapy. Furthermore, studies in healthy cats demonstrated that those drugs stimulate insulin secretion and lower glucagon levels. There is a need of additional clinical evaluation of action of the drugs in cats suffering from FDM. Moreover, studies in cats may contribute to the development of knowledge on the use of new drugs in treatment of human T2DM because cats are an excellent model for the study of diabetes.

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