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Diabetes. 2007 Jun;56(6):1671-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 gene therapy in obese diabetic mice results in long-term cure of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing hepatic gluconeogenesis.

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Rosalind Franklin Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Department of Pathology, Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.


Long-term treatment with glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 or its analog can improve insulin sensitivity. However, continuous administration is required due to its short half-life. We hypothesized that continuous production of therapeutic levels of GLP-1 in vivo by a gene therapy strategy may remit hyperglycemia and maintain prolonged normoglycemia. We produced a recombinant adenovirus expressing GLP-1 (rAd-GLP-1) under the cytomegalovirus promoter, intravenously injected it into diabetic ob/ob mice, and investigated the effect of this treatment on remission of diabetes, as well as the mechanisms involved. rAd-GLP-1-treated diabetic ob/ob mice became normoglycemic 4 days after treatment, remained normoglycemic over 60 days, and had reduced body weight gain. Glucose tolerance tests found that exogenous glucose was cleared normally. rAd-GLP-1-treated diabetic ob/ob mice showed improved beta-cell function, evidenced by glucose-responsive insulin release, and increased insulin sensitivity, evidenced by improved insulin tolerance and increased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes. rAd-GLP-1 treatment increased basal levels of insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 in the liver and activation of IRS-1 and protein kinase C by insulin in liver and muscle; increased Akt activation was only observed in muscle. rAd-GLP-1 treatment reduced hepatic glucose production and hepatic expression of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and fatty acid synthase in ob/ob mice. Taken together, these results show that a single administration of rAd-GLP-1 results in the long-term remission of diabetes in ob/ob mice by improving insulin sensitivity through restoration of insulin signaling and reducing hepatic gluconeogenesis.

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