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Diabetes. 2014 Apr;63(4):1422-7. doi: 10.2337/db13-1609. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

GLP-1/glucagon coagonism restores leptin responsiveness in obese mice chronically maintained on an obesogenic diet.

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  • 1Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Center Munich, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany.


We recently reported restoration of leptin responsiveness in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice using a pharmacologically optimized, polyethylene-glycolated (PEG)-leptin analog in combination with exendin-4 or FGF21. However, the return of leptin action required discontinuation of high-fat diet (HFD) exposure. Here we assess whether a single peptide possessing balanced coagonism at the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucagon receptors can restore leptin responsiveness in DIO mice maintained on a HFD. DIO mice were treated with PEG-GLP-1/glucagon (30 nmol/kg every fourth day) to induce an ∼15% body weight loss, upon which they were randomized to continue PEG-GLP-1/glucagon therapy or reassigned to receive supplemental daily PEG-leptin (185 nmol/kg/day). The addition of PEG-leptin to PEG-GLP-1/glucagon resulted in an ∼18% greater weight loss as compared with PEG-GLP-1/glucagon alone and was accompanied by further decreases in food intake and improved glucose and lipid metabolism. The beneficial effect of PEG-leptin supplementation occurred after an initial body weight loss similar to what we previously reported following reduced dietary fat along with PEG-leptin and exendin-4 or FGF21 cotreatment. In summary, we report that GLP-1/glucagon coagonism restores leptin responsiveness in mice maintained on a HFD, thus emphasizing the translational value of this polypharmacotherapy for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

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