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Diabetes Care. 2009 Dec;32(12):2251-7. doi: 10.2337/dc09-0773. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

Effects of exenatide alone and in combination with daclizumab on beta-cell function in long-standing type 1 diabetes.

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  • 1National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. kristina.rother@nih.gov



In patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes, we investigated whether improved beta-cell function can be achieved by combining intensive insulin therapy with agents that may 1) promote beta-cell growth and/or limit beta-cell apoptosis and 2) weaken the anti-beta-cell autoimmunity.


For this study, 20 individuals (mean age 39.5 +/- 11.1 years) with long-standing type 1 diabetes (21.3 +/- 10.7 years) were enrolled in this prospective open-label crossover trial. After achieving optimal blood glucose control, 16 subjects were randomized to exenatide with or without daclizumab. Endogenous insulin production was determined by repeatedly measuring serum C-peptide.


In 85% of individuals with long-standing type 1 diabetes who were screened for participation in this trial, C-peptide levels >or=0.05 ng/ml (0.02 nmol/l) were found. Residual beta-cells responded to physiological (mixed-meal) and pharmacological (arginine) stimuli. During exenatide treatment, patients lost 4.1 +/- 2.9 kg body wt and insulin requirements declined significantly (total daily dose on exenatide 0.48 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.55 +/- 0.13 units x kg(-1) x day(-1) without exenatide; P = 0.0062). No signs of further activation of the underlying autoimmune disease were observed. Exenatide delayed gastric emptying, suppressed endogenous incretin levels, but did not increase C-peptide secretion.


In long-standing type 1 diabetes, which remains an active autoimmune disease even decades after its onset, surviving beta-cells secrete insulin in a physiologically regulated manner. However, the combination of intensified insulin therapy, exenatide, and daclizumab did not induce improved function of these remaining beta-cells.

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