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Diabetes. 2015 Feb;64(2):317-26. doi: 10.2337/db14-1514.

Deciphering metabolic messages from the gut drives therapeutic innovation: the 2014 Banting Lecture.

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Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement is the highest scientific award of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Given in memory of Sir Frederick Banting, one of the key investigators in the discovery of insulin, the Banting Medal is awarded annually for scientific excellence, recognizing significant long-term contributions to the understanding, treatment, or prevention of diabetes. Daniel J. Drucker, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, received the prestigious award at the ADA's 74th Scientific Sessions, 13-17 June 2014, in San Francisco, California. He presented the Banting Lecture, "Deciphering Metabolic Messages From the Gut Drives Therapeutic Innovation," on Sunday, 15 June 2014.Gut peptides convey nutrient-regulated signals to the enteric nervous system and to distal organs, acting as circulating hormones secreted in the basal and postprandial state. Here I provide an overview of the actions of glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and GLP-2, the two major enteroendocrine L-cell peptides. The endogenous physiological actions of GLP-1 have been delineated using antagonists and Glp1r(-/-) mice and include the control of islet hormone secretion in a glucose-dependent manner, leading to improvement of fasting and postprandial glucose homeostasis. GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1Rs) are also widely distributed in multiple extrapancreatic organs, providing a mechanistic explanation for the nonglycemic actions attributed to GLP-1. The multiple metabolic actions of GLP-1 enable reduction of glycemia and body weight in diabetic and obese subjects, providing the opportunity to reduce glycemia in human subjects with diabetes with a low risk of hypoglycemia. GLP-2 plays a key role in the control of energy absorption and in the integrity of the intestinal mucosa, and a GLP-2R agonist, teduglutide, is now used for augmentation of energy absorption in parenteral nutrition-dependent subjects with short bowel syndrome. GLP-1 and GLP-2 are both cleaved by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4); hence, inhibition of DPP-4 activity enables yet another pathway for potentiation of incretin action and the therapy for type 2 diabetes. Here I review our 30-year experience with the elucidation of gut hormone action and, wherever possible, highlight therapeutic implications of our preclinical studies and future opportunities for incretin research.

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