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Diabetes. 1998 Feb;47(2):159-69.

Glucagon-like peptides.

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Department of Medicine, the Toronto Hospital, Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Proglucagon contains the sequence of two glucagon-like peptides, GLP-1 and GLP-2, secreted from enteroendocrine cells of the small and large intestine. GLP-1 lowers blood glucose in both NIDDM and IDDM patients and may be therapeutically useful for treatment of patients with diabetes. GLP-1 regulates blood glucose via stimulation of glucose-dependent insulin secretion, inhibition of gastric emptying, and inhibition of glucagon secretion. GLP-1 may also regulate glycogen synthesis in adipose tissue and muscle; however, the mechanism for these peripheral effects remains unclear. GLP-1 is produced in the brain, and intracerebroventricular GLP-1 in rodents is a potent inhibitor of food and water intake. The short duration of action of GLP-1 may be accounted for in part by the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-IV), which cleaves GLP-1 at the NH2-terminus; hence GLP-1 analogs or the lizard peptide exendin-4 that are resistant to DPP-IV cleavage may be more potent GLP-1 molecules in vivo. GLP-2 has recently been shown to display intestinal growth factor activity in rodents, raising the possibility that GLP-2 may be therapeutically useful for enhancement of mucosal regeneration in patients with intestinal disease. This review discusses recent advances in our understanding of the biological activity of the glucagon-like peptides.

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