Comparison of drug efficacy in two animal models of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Guilherme S. Ferreira, Désirée H. Veening-Griffioen, Wouter P.C. Boon, Carlijn R. Hooijmans, Ellen H.M. Moors, Huub Schellekens, Peter J.K. van Meer

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Previous qualitative research has suggested there are only minor differences between the db/db mouse and the Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rat, both animal models of type 2 diabetes. However, it is not known whether these models are also comparable regarding drug response in quantitative terms (effect size). To investigate the extent of these differences, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of approved drugs in these models. We searched on PubMed and Embase on July 3, 2019 for studies including either model, a monotherapy arm with an EMA/FDA approved drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, HbA1c assessment and a control group. Studies aimed at diabetes prevention or with surgical interventions were excluded. We calculated the Standardised Mean Difference (SMD) to compare effect sizes (HbA1c reduction) per drug and drug class across models. We included a risk of bias assessment for all included publications. A total of 121 publications met our inclusion criteria. For drugs with more than two comparisons, both models predicted the direction of the effect regarding HbA1c levels. There were no differences between the db/db mouse and ZDF rat, except for exenatide (P = 0.02) and GLP-1 agonists (P = 0.03) in which a larger effect size was calculated in the ZDF rat. Our results indicate the differences between the db/db mouse and ZDF rat are not relevant for preliminary efficacy testing. This methodology can be used to further differentiate between animal models used for the same indication, facilitating the selection of models more likely to predict human response.
Original languageEnglish
Article number173153
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • animal model
  • Drug development
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Translational research
  • Systematic review
  • meta-Analysis


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