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  • Author or Editor: Christopher K. Cebra x
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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.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare numbers of L cells in intestinal samples and blood concentrations of glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 between neonatal and mature alpacas.

Sample—Intestinal samples from carcasses of 4 suckling crias and 4 postweaning alpacas for immunohistochemical analysis and blood samples from 32 suckling crias and 19 healthy adult alpacas for an ELISA.

Procedures—Immunohistochemical staining was conducted in accordance with Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory standard procedures with a rabbit polyclonal anti–GLP-1 primary antibody. Stained cells with staining results in ileal tissue were counted in 20 fields by 2 investigators, and the mean value was calculated. For quantification of GLP-1 concentrations, blood samples were collected into tubes containing a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor. Plasma samples were tested in duplicate with a commercial GLP-1 ELISA validated for use in alpacas.

Results—Counts of stained cells (mean ± SD, 50 ± 18 cells) and plasma GLP-1 concentrations (median, 0.086 ng/mL; interquartile range, 0.061 to 0.144 ng/mL) were higher for suckling alpacas than for postsuckling alpacas (stained cells, 26 ± 4 cells; plasma GLP-1 concentration, median, 0.034 ng/mL; interquartile range, 0.015 to 0.048 ng/mL).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Older alpacas had lower numbers of L cells in intestinal tissues and lower blood concentrations of GLP-1 than those in neonates. These findings suggested that there may be a decrease in the contribution of GLP-1 to insulin production in adult alpacas, compared with the contribution in neonates.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research