Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease characterized by insulin resistance and impaired beta-cell function. Treatments that prevent further beta-cell decline are therefore essential for the management of type 2 diabetes. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an incretin hormone that is known to stimulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion. Furthermore, GLP-1 appears to have multiple positive effects on beta cells. However, GLP-1 is rapidly degraded by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), which limits the clinical relevance of GLP-1 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Two main classes of GLP-1-based therapies have now been developed: DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists. Liraglutide and exenatide are examples of GLP-1 receptor agonists that have been developed to mimic the insulinotropic characteristics of endogenous GLP-1. Both have demonstrated improved beta-cell function in patients with type 2 diabetes, as assessed by homoeostasis model assessment-B analysis and proinsulin : insulin ratio. Additionally, liraglutide and exenatide are able to enhance first- and second-phase insulin secretion and are able to restore beta-cell sensitivity to glucose. Preclinical studies have shown that both liraglutide and exenatide treatment can increase beta-cell mass, stimulate beta-cell proliferation, increase beta-cell neogenesis and inhibit beta-cell apoptosis. Clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings in humans. Replication of these data in humans could have important clinical implications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2009, Vol 11 Suppl 3, p. 11-18
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review