Effects of Insulin on Glucose Clearance and Hydrocortisone

Effects of Insulin on Glucose Clearance and Hydrocortisone—Mediated Hyperglycemia in Alpacas

Principal investigator:

Dr. Christopher Cebra
American Journal of Veterinary Research
62 (5); 682-686, 2001

These researchers were following up on the observation that alpacas and llamas tend to have modest elevations of sugar in their blood. They took 5 female and 5 gelded male alpacas, withheld food for 12 hours and then gave them an injection of a sugar directly into the blood stream. They made two important observations. First, sugar stayed high in the blood of alpacas and llamas for a longer period of time than in other species. Second, alpacas and llamas did not secrete insulin in response to the injection of sugar. Insulin secretion is a normal response to an elevation of blood sugar and if it is lacking it indicates an abnormality in the way sugar is metabolized. The failure of alpacas and llamas to quickly remove sugar from the bloodstream means they can’t use sugar efficiently to fuel various metabolic processes. Even more of a concern, it means that llamas and alpacas may be prone to diabetic like disorders when exposed to an abundance of sugar.