According to a recent research, bottlenose dolphins during overnight fasting go into a diabetic state that is harmless. This maintains high levels of glucose in the blood.
It was stated recently that dolphins could prove to be apt models for studying diabetes as they might offer vital clues for treating diabetes in human beings.
Carbohydrates gave glucose to animals but food that dolphins ate had protein but was low in glucose. Researchers said that there might be a diabetic switch in dolphins that kept their brain well fed, said veterinary epidemiologist Stephanie Venn-Watson of the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego.
Venn-Watson explained dolphins might be switching this switch on and off. Insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes results in high levels of blood glucose. In these individuals there is no response to signals from their own insulin that guides body to take glucose present in blood.
Venn-Watson and her colleagues for 21 weeks measured insulin levels in six dolphins at an interval of two hours after the animals ate. Out of those assessed was one dolphin with a history of iron overload for 10 years, it had high insulin levels compared to others. It was noted that iron overload is associated with type 2 diabetes in people.
There has been earlier work and these findings add to the fact that in dolphins fasting show changes in blood chemistry also in glucose levels. This chemistry reflect changes in the blood of people suffering from diabetes.