In 1937 Jacobs1 found that alloxan2 (the ureide of mesoxalic acid) produced fatal hypoglycemia when injected intravenously into rabbits. No histologic observations were recorded. Similar experiments conducted by Dunn, Sheehan and McLetchie3 confirmed the hypoglycemic action of alloxan. On microscopic study these observers found necrosis of all the islets of Langerhans while the acinar tissue escaped injury. All but 1 of their animals died apparently in hypoglycemia.
If alloxan produces extensive necrosis of the islets of Langerhans without apparent damage to the acinar tissue and relatively minor changes in other organs, it seemed to us that the hypoglycemic phase might be transitory. Should this be true, animals kept alive by repeated injections of dextrose might survive this phase and finally develop diabetes mellitus. A series of experiments designed to test this hypothesis has shown that such is the case. Six 3 months old male Dutch rabbits were
BAILEY CC, BAILEY OT. THE PRODUCTION OF DIABETES MELLITUS IN RABBITS WITH ALLOXAN: A PRELIMINARY REPORT. JAMA. 1943;122(17):1165–1166. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840340013004
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