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Diabetes. 2015 Oct;64(10):3406-12. doi: 10.2337/db14-1718. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Exenatide Regulates Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Brain Areas Associated With Glucose Homeostasis and Reward System.

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University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX.
Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy.
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy


Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptors (GLP-1Rs) have been found in the brain, but whether GLP-1R agonists (GLP-1RAs) influence brain glucose metabolism is currently unknown. The study aim was to evaluate the effects of a single injection of the GLP-1RA exenatide on cerebral and peripheral glucose metabolism in response to a glucose load. In 15 male subjects with HbA1c of 5.7 ± 0.1%, fasting glucose of 114 ± 3 mg/dL, and 2-h glucose of 177 ± 11 mg/dL, exenatide (5 μg) or placebo was injected in double-blind, randomized fashion subcutaneously 30 min before an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The cerebral glucose metabolic rate (CMRglu) was measured by positron emission tomography after an injection of [(18)F]2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose before the OGTT, and the rate of glucose absorption (RaO) and disposal was assessed using stable isotope tracers. Exenatide reduced RaO0-60 min (4.6 ± 1.4 vs. 13.1 ± 1.7 μmol/min ⋅ kg) and decreased the rise in mean glucose0-60 min (107 ± 6 vs. 138 ± 8 mg/dL) and insulin0-60 min (17.3 ± 3.1 vs. 24.7 ± 3.8 mU/L). Exenatide increased CMRglu in areas of the brain related to glucose homeostasis, appetite, and food reward, despite lower plasma insulin concentrations, but reduced glucose uptake in the hypothalamus. Decreased RaO0-60 min after exenatide was inversely correlated to CMRglu. In conclusion, these results demonstrate, for the first time in man, a major effect of a GLP-1RA on regulation of brain glucose metabolism in the absorptive state.


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