Incretin hormones are secreted from the intestinal tract in response to ingestion of nutrients. They play a major role in augmenting insulin secretion and in controlling blood glucose concentrations after meals in healthy animals. Drugs that mimic the action of incretin hormones are effective in the treatment of diabetes in humans. Little is known about these hormones in cats. This project will measure the physiologic effect of incretin hormones in healthy cats by comparing the effects of oral glucose to intravenous glucose on the secretion of incretin hormones and on the stimulation of insulin secretion.
After showing that incretins have a similar biologic effect in cats as in other species, the investigators will study the effect of exenatide on augmentation of insulin secretion. This drug mimics the effect of the incretin hormone GLP-1, but it is much more resistant to degradation in the body and thus it is long- acting. Exenatide is as effective as insulin in diabetic humans and is associated with fewer side effects. The goal of this study is to generate data to be used as baseline for clinical trials of exenatide in diabetic cats.