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Rev Diabet Stud, 2011, 8(2):245-253 DOI 10.1900/RDS.2011.8.245

Modeling Chick to Assess Diabetes Pathogenesis and Treatment

Savita P. Datar1, Ramesh R. Bhonde2

1Department of Zoology, Sir Parshurambhau College, Pune 411030, India
2Manipal Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Manipal University, Bangalore, India
Address correspondence to: Ramesh R. Bhonde, e-mail:

Manuscript submitted June 14, 2011; resubmitted July 22, 2011; accepted August 2, 2011.

Keywords: diabetes, chick islets, chick embryo, chorioallantoic membrane, ethical consideration, endocrine pancreas, beta-cell, insulin secretion


Animal models have been used extensively in diabetes research. Studies on animal models have contributed to the discovery and purification of insulin, development of new therapeutic approaches, and progress in fundamental and clinical research. However, conventional rodent and large animal mammalian models face ethical, practical, or technical limitations. Therefore, it would be beneficial developing an alternative model for diabetes research which would overcome these limitations. Amongst other vertebrates, birds are phylogenically closer to mammals, and amongst birds, the chick has been used as one of the favored models in developmental biology, toxicology, cancer research, immunology, and drug testing. Chicken eggs are readily available, have a short incubation period and easily accessible embryos. Based on these inimitable advantages, the present review article aims to discuss the suitability of the chick as a model system to study specific aspects of diabetes. The review focuses on the application of i) chick pancreatic islets for screening of antidiabetic agents and for islet banking, (ii) shell-less chick embryo culture as a model to study hyperglycemia-induced malformations observed in mammalian embryos, and (iii) chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) to examine glucose-induced endothelial damage leading to inhibition of angiogenesis.

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