This study intended to demonstrate that the thyroid hormone T3 counteracts the onset of a Streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetes in wild type mice. To test our hypothesis diabetes has been induced in Balb/c male mice by multiple low dose Streptozotocin injection; and a group of mice was contemporaneously injected with T3. After 48 h mice were tested for glucose tolerance test, insulin serum levels and then sacrified. Whole pancreata were utilized for morphological and biochemical analyses, while protein extracts and RNA were utilized for expression analyses of specific molecules. The results showed that islets from T3 treated mice were comparable to age- and sex-matched control, untreated mice in number, shape, dimension, consistency, ultrastructure, insulin and glucagon levels, Tunel positivity and caspases activation, while all the cited parameters and molecules were altered by STZ alone. The T3-induced pro survival effect was associated with a strong increase in phosphorylated Akt. Moreover, T3 administration prevented the STZ-dependent alterations in glucose blood level, both during fasting and after glucose challenge, as well as in insulin serum level. In conclusion we demonstrated that T3 could act as a protective factor against STZ induced diabetes
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