Department of Medicine Publications

Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Improved Glycemic Control in Type 1 Diabetes

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BMC Endocrine Disorders






Background: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its agonists are under assessment in treatment of type 2 diabetes, by virtue of their antidiabetic actions, which include stimulation of insulin secretion, inhibition of glucagon release, and delay of gastric emptying. We examined the potential of GLP-1 to improve glycemic control in type 1 diabetes with no endogenous insulin secretion.

Methods: Dose-finding studies were carried out to establish mid range doses for delay of gastric emptying indicated by postponement of pancreatic polypeptide responses after meals. The selected dose of 0.63 micrograms/kg GLP-1 was administered before breakfast and lunch in 8-hour studies in hospital to establish the efficacy and safety of GLP-1. In outside-hospital studies, GLP-1 or vehicle was self-administered double-blind before meals with usual insulin for five consecutive days by five males and three females with well-controlled C-peptide-negative type 1 diabetes. Capillary blood glucose values were self-monitored before meals, at 30 and 60 min after breakfast and supper, and at bedtime. Breakfast tests with GLP-1 were conducted on the day before and on the day after 5-day studies. Paired t-tests and ANOVA were used for statistical analysis.

Results: In 8-hour studies time-averaged incremental (delta) areas under the curves(AUC) for plasma glucose through 8 hours were decreased by GLP-1 compared to vehicle (3.2 PlusMinus; 0.9, mean PlusMinus; se, vs 5.4 PlusMinus; 0.8 mmol/l, p <.05), and for pancreatic polypeptide, an indicator of gastric emptying, through 30 min after meals (4.0 PlusMinus; 3.1 vs 37 PlusMinus; 9.6 pmol/l, p <.05) with no adverse effects. Incremental glucagon levels through 60 min after meals were depressed by GLP-1 compared to vehicle (-3.7 PlusMinus; 2.5 vs 3.1 PlusMinus; 1.9 ng/l, p <.04). In 5-day studies, AUC for capillary blood glucose levels were lower with GLP-1 than with vehicle (-0.64 PlusMinus; 0.33 vs 0.34 PlusMinus; 0.26 mmol/l, p <.05). No assisted episode of hypoglycaemia or change in insulin dosage occurred. Breakfast tests on the days immediately before and after 5-day trials showed no change in the effects of GLP-1.

Conclusion: We have demonstrated that subcutaneous GLP-1 can improve glucose control in type 1 diabetes without adverse effects when self-administered before meals with usual insulin during established intensive insulin treatment programs.


Published in: BMC Endocrine Disorders, 2003, 3:3. doi:10.1186/1472-6823-3-3

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