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Diabetes. 2006 Jun;55(6):1695-704.

Chronic inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 with a sitagliptin analog preserves pancreatic beta-cell mass and function in a rodent model of type 2 diabetes.

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Department of Metabolic Disorders, Merck Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 2000, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


Inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), a key regulator of the actions of incretin hormones, exert antihyperglycemic effects in type 2 diabetic patients. A major unanswered question concerns the potential ability of DPP-4 inhibition to have beneficial disease-modifying effects, specifically to attenuate loss of pancreatic beta-cell mass and function. Here, we investigated the effects of a potent and selective DPP-4 inhibitor, an analog of sitagliptin (des-fluoro-sitagliptin), on glycemic control and pancreatic beta-cell mass and function in a mouse model with defects in insulin sensitivity and secretion, namely high-fat diet (HFD) streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. Significant and dose-dependent correction of postprandial and fasting hyperglycemia, HbA(1c), and plasma triglyceride and free fatty acid levels were observed in HFD/STZ mice following 2-3 months of chronic therapy. Treatment with des-fluoro-sitagliptin dose dependently increased the number of insulin-positive beta-cells in islets, leading to the normalization of beta-cell mass and beta-cell-to-alpha-cell ratio. In addition, treatment of mice with des-fluoro-sitagliptin, but not glipizide, significantly increased islet insulin content and improved glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in isolated islets. These findings suggest that DPP-4 inhibitors may offer long-lasting efficacy in the treatment of type 2 diabetes by modifying the courses of the disease.

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