Tsuruga, M., Taki, K., Ishii, G., Sasaki, Y., Furukawa, C., Sugihara, T., Nomura, T., Ochiai, A., and Magae, J. Amelioration of Type II Diabetes in db/db Mice by Continuous Low-Dose-Rate γ Irradiation. Radiat. Res. 167, 592–599 (2007).
Low-dose-rate radiation modulates various biological responses including carcinogenesis, immunological responses and diabetes. We found that continuous irradiation with low-dose-rate γ rays ameliorated type II diabetes in db/db mice, diabetic mice that lack leptin receptors. Whole-body exposure of db/db mice to low dose-rate γ radiation improved glucose clearance without affecting the response to insulin. Histological studies suggested that degeneration of pancreatic islets was significantly suppressed by the radiation. Insulin secretion in response to glucose loading was increased significantly in the irradiated mice. These results suggest that low-dose-rate γ radiation ameliorates type II diabetes by maintaining insulin secretion, which gradually decreases during the progression of diabetes due to degeneration of pancreatic islets. We also inferred that protection from oxidative damage is involved in the anti-diabetic effect of low-dose-rate γ rays because expression and activity of pancreatic superoxide dismutase were significantly elevated by low-dose-rate γ radiation.