Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2018 Mar 20;13(3):e0194468. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194468. eCollection 2018.

Sustained effect of glucagon on body weight and blood glucose: Assessed by continuous glucose monitoring in diabetic rats.

Author information

Department of GLP-1 & T2D Biology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Maaloev, Denmark.
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Insulin Pharmacology, Novo Nordisk A/S, Maaloev, Denmark.
Department of Modelling, Novo Nordisk A/S, Maaloev, Denmark.


Insulin is a vital part of diabetes treatment, whereas glucagon is primarily used to treat insulin-induced hypoglycemia. However, glucagon is suggested to have a central role in the regulation of body weight, which would be beneficial for diabetic patients. Since the glucagon effect on blood glucose is known to be transient, it is relevant to investigate the pharmacodynamics of glucagon after repeated dosing. In the present study, we used telemetry to continuously measure blood glucose in streptozotocin induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats. This allowed for a more detailed analysis of glucose regulation compared to intermittent blood sampling. In particular, we evaluated the blood glucose-lowering effect of different insulin doses alone, and in combination with a long acting glucagon analog (LAG). We showed how the effect of the LAG accumulated and persisted over time. Furthermore, we found that addition of the LAG decreased body weight without affecting food intake. In a subsequent study, we focused on the glucagon effect on body weight and food intake during equal glycemic control. In order to obtain comparable maximum blood glucose lowering effect to insulin alone, the insulin dose had to be increased four times in combination with 1 nmol/kg of the LAG. In this set-up the LAG prevented further increase in body weight despite the four times higher insulin-dose. However, the body composition was changed. The insulin group increased both lean and fat mass, whereas the group receiving four times insulin in combination with the LAG only significantly increased the fat mass. No differences were observed in food intake, suggesting a direct effect on energy expenditure by glucagon. Surprisingly, we observed decreased levels of FGF21 in plasma compared to insulin treatment alone. With the combination of insulin and the LAG the blood glucose-lowering effect of insulin was prolonged, which could potentially be beneficial in diabetes treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center