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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Feb 1;302(3):E334-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00409.2011. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Acute activation of central GLP-1 receptors enhances hepatic insulin action and insulin secretion in high-fat-fed, insulin resistant mice.

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Metabolic Signaling and Disease Program, Diabetes and Obesity Research Center, Orlando, Florida, USA.


Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor knockout (Glp1r(-/-)) mice exhibit impaired hepatic insulin action. High fat (HF)-fed Glp1r(-/-) mice exhibit improved, rather than the expected impaired, hepatic insulin action. This is due to decreased lipogenic gene expression and triglyceride accumulation. The present studies overcome these secondary adaptations by acutely modulating GLP-1R action in HF-fed wild-type mice. The central GLP-1R was targeted given its role as a regulator of hepatic insulin action. We hypothesized that acute inhibition of the central GLP-1R impairs hepatic insulin action beyond the effects of HF feeding. We further hypothesized that activation of the central GLP-1R improves hepatic insulin action in HF-fed mice. Insulin action was assessed in conscious, unrestrained mice using the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp. Mice received intracerebroventricular (icv) infusions of artificial cerebrospinal fluid, GLP-1, or the GLP-1R antagonist exendin-9 (Ex-9) during the clamp. Intracerebroventricular Ex-9 impaired the suppression of hepatic glucose production by insulin, whereas icv GLP-1 improved it. Neither treatment affected tissue glucose uptake. Intracerebroventricular GLP-1 enhanced activation of hepatic Akt and suppressed hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase. Central GLP-1R activation resulted in lower hepatic triglyceride levels but did not affect muscle, white adipose tissue, or plasma triglyceride levels during hyperinsulinemia. In response to oral but not intravenous glucose challenges, activation of the central GLP-1R improved glucose tolerance. This was associated with higher insulin levels. Inhibition of the central GLP-1R had no effect on oral or intravenous glucose tolerance. These results show that inhibition of the central GLP-1R deteriorates hepatic insulin action in HF-fed mice but does not affect whole body glucose homeostasis. Contrasting this, activation of the central GLP-1R improves glucose homeostasis in HF-fed mice by increasing insulin levels and enhancing hepatic insulin action.

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