Objective—To measure and compare insulin secretion and sensitivity in healthy alpacas and llamas via glucose clamping techniques.
Animals—8 llamas and 8 alpacas.
Procedures—Hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamping (HEC) and hyperglycemic clamping (HGC) were performed on each camelid in a crossover design with a minimum 48-hour washout period between clamping procedures. The HEC technique was performed to measure insulin sensitivity. Insulin was infused IV at 6 mU/min/kg for 4 hours, and an IV infusion of glucose was adjusted to maintain blood glucose concentration at 150 mg/dL. Concentrations of blood glucose and plasma insulin were determined throughout. The HGC technique was performed to assess insulin secretion in response to exogenous glucose infusion. An IV infusion of glucose was administered to maintain blood glucose concentration at 320 mg/dL for 3 hours, and concentrations of blood glucose and plasma insulin were determined throughout.
Results—Alpacas and llamas were not significantly different with respect to whole-body insulin sensitivity during HEC or in pancreatic β-cell response during HGC. Alpacas and llamas had markedly lower insulin sensitivity during HEC and markedly lower pancreatic β-cell response during HGC, in comparison with many other species.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—New World camelids had lower glucose-induced insulin secretion and marked insulin resistance in comparison with other species. This likely contributes to the disorders of fat and glucose metabolism that are common to camelids.