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Diabetes. 2018 Feb;67(2):309-320. doi: 10.2337/db17-0607. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Mechanisms to Elevate Endogenous GLP-1 Beyond Injectable GLP-1 Analogs and Metabolic Surgery.

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Diabetes and Complications, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN.
Centro de Investigación Lilly, Eli Lilly and Company, Alcobendas, Spain.
Advanced Testing Laboratory, Blue Ash, OH.
Diabetes and Complications, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN


Therapeutic engineering of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) has enabled development of new medicines to treat type 2 diabetes. These injectable analogs achieve robust glycemic control by increasing concentrations of "GLP-1 equivalents" (∼50 pmol/L). Similar levels of endogenous GLP-1 occur after gastric bypass surgery, and mechanistic studies indicate glucose lowering by these procedures is driven by GLP-1. Therefore, because of the remarkable signaling and secretory capacity of the GLP-1 system, we sought to discover mechanisms that increase GLP-1 pharmacologically. To study active GLP-1, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor (Gipr)-deficient mice receiving background dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitor treatment were characterized as a model for evaluating oral agents that increase circulating GLP-1. A somatostatin receptor 5 antagonist, which blunts inhibition of GLP-1 release, and agonists for TGR5 and GPR40, which stimulate GLP-1 secretion, were investigated alone and in combination with the DPP4 inhibitor sitagliptin; these only modestly increased GLP-1 (∼5-30 pmol/L). However, combining molecules to simultaneously intervene at multiple regulatory nodes synergistically elevated active GLP-1 to unprecedented concentrations (∼300-400 pmol/L), drastically reducing glucose in Gipr null and Leprdb/db mice in a GLP-1 receptor-dependent manner. Our studies demonstrate that complementary pathways can be engaged to robustly increase GLP-1 without invasive surgical or injection regimens.

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