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Free access

Xiaofeng Wang and Catherine B Chan

n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are a subgroup of fatty acids with broad health benefits, such as lowering blood triglycerides and decreasing the risk of some types of cancer. A beneficial effect of n-3 PUFAs in diabetes is indicated by results from some studies. Defective insulin secretion is a fundamental pathophysiological change in both types 1 and 2 diabetes. Emerging studies have provided evidence of a connection between n-3 PUFAs and improved insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. This review summarizes the recent findings in this regard and discusses the potential mechanisms by which n-3 PUFAs influence insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells.

Free access

Hongbin Liu, Anthony E Dear, Lotte B Knudsen, and Richard W Simpson

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) administration attenuates endothelial cell dysfunction in diabetic patients and inhibits tumour necrosis factor α (TNF)-mediated plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) induction in human vascular endothelial cells. The short half-life of GLP-1 mediated via degradation by the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase 4 mandates the clinical use of long-acting GLP-1 analogues. The effects of a long-acting GLP-1 analogue on PAI-1 and vascular adhesion molecule expression in vascular endothelial cells are unknown. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that the treatment with liraglutide, a long-acting GLP-1 analogue, inhibited TNF or hyperglycaemia-mediated induction of PAI-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 mRNA and protein expression in a human vascular endothelial cell line. In addition, treatment attenuated TNF- or hyperglycaemia-mediated induction of the orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 mRNA expression. Taken together, these observations indicate that liraglutide inhibits TNF- or glucose-mediated induction of PAI-1 and vascular adhesion molecule expression, and this effect may involve the modulation of NUR77. These effects suggest that liraglutide may potentially improve the endothelial cell dysfunction associated with premature atherosclerosis identified in type 2 diabetic patients.

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P S Leung, H C Chan, L X M Fu, and P Y D Wong


Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of several key components of the renin–angiotensin system in the pancreas. In the present study, the localization of angiotensin II receptor subtypes, type I (AT1) and type II (AT2), in the mouse and the rat pancreas was studied by immunocytochemistry using specific antipeptide antibodies against the second extracellular loops of AT1 and AT2 receptors in conjunction with confocal laser scanning microscopy. In the mouse, immunoreactivity for AT1 and AT2 was observed predominantly in the endothelia of the blood vessels and the epithelia of the pancreatic ductal system. Similar distribution of immunoreactivity for AT1 and AT2 was also observed. However, the intensity of immunoreactivity for AT1 and AT2 was stronger in the rat than that found in the mouse pancreas. Much weaker immunostaining for both AT1 and AT2, as compared with that found in ductal regions, was also found in the acini of the rodent pancreas. Together with the previous findings, the present results suggest that AT1 and/or AT2 receptors may play a role in regulating pancreatic functions in the rodent.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 153, 269–274

Free access

Guillaume Mabilleau, Marie Pereira, and Chantal Chenu

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) leads to bone fragility and predisposes to increased risk of fracture, poor bone healing and other skeletal complications. In addition, some anti-diabetic therapies for T2DM can have notable detrimental skeletal effects. Thus, an appropriate therapeutic strategy for T2DM should not only be effective in re-establishing good glycaemic control but also in minimising skeletal complications. There is increasing evidence that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), now greatly prescribed for the treatment of T2DM, have beneficial skeletal effects although the underlying mechanisms are not completely understood. This review provides an overview of the direct and indirect effects of GLP-1RAs on bone physiology, focusing on bone quality and novel mechanisms of action on the vasculature and hormonal regulation. The overall experimental studies indicate significant positive skeletal effects of GLP-1RAs on bone quality and strength although their mechanisms of actions may differ according to various GLP-1RAs and clinical studies supporting their bone protective effects are still lacking. The possibility that GLP-1RAs could improve blood supply to bone, which is essential for skeletal health, is of major interest and suggests that GLP-1 anti-diabetic therapy could benefit the rising number of elderly T2DM patients with osteoporosis and high fracture risk.

Free access

Hongbin Liu, Yunshan Hu, Richard W Simpson, and Anthony E Dear

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has been proposed as a target for treatment of type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 has also been demonstrated to improve endothelial cell dysfunction in diabetic patients. Elevated plasmogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) levels have been implicated in endothelial cell dysfunction. The effect of GLP-1 on PAI-1 expression in vascular endothelial cells has not been explored. In a spontaneously transformed human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) line, C11-spontaneously transformed HUVEC (STH) and primary HUVEC cells, GLP-1 treatment, in the presence of a dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitor, attenuated induction of PAI-1 protein and mRNA expression by tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). GLP-1 also inhibited the effect of TNF-α on a reporter gene construct harbouring the proximal PAI-1 promoter. In addition, GLP-1 attenuated TNF-α-mediated induction of Nur77 mRNA and TNF-α-mediated binding of nuclear proteins (NPs) to the PAI-1, Nur77, cis-acting response element nerve growth factor induced clone B response element (NBRE). GLP-1 treatment also inhibited TNF-α-mediated induction of Akt phosphorylation. Taken together, these observations suggest that GLP-1 inhibits TNF-α-mediated PAI-1 induction in vascular endothelial cells, and this effect may involve Akt-mediated signalling events and the modulation of Nur77 expression and NP binding to the PAI-1 NBRE.

Free access

L Monetini, F Barone, L Stefanini, A Petrone, T Walk, G Jung, R Thorpe, P Pozzilli, and MG Cavallo

Enhanced cellular immune response to bovine beta-casein has been reported in patients with type 1 diabetes. In this study we aimed to establish beta-casein-specific T cell lines from newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic patients and to characterise these cell lines in terms of phenotype and epitope specificity. Furthermore, since sequence homologies exist between beta-casein and putative beta-cell autoantigens, reactivity to the latter was also investigated. T cell lines were generated from the peripheral blood of nine recent onset type 1 diabetic patients with different HLA-DQ and -DR genotypes, after stimulation with antigen pulsed autologous irradiated antigen presenting cells (APCs) and recombinant human interleukin-2 (rhIL-2). T cell line reactivity was evaluated in response to bovine beta-casein, to 18 overlapping peptides encompassing the whole sequence of beta-casein and to beta-cell antigens, including the human insulinoma cell line, CM, and a peptide from the beta-cell glucose transporter, GLUT-2. T cell lines specific to beta-casein could not be isolated from HLA-matched and -unmatched control subjects. beta-Casein T cell lines reacted to different sequences of the protein, however a higher frequency of T cell reactivity was observed towards the C-terminal portion (peptides B05-14, and B05-17 in 5/9 and 4/9 T cell lines respectively). Furthermore, we found that 1 out of 9 beta-casein-specific T cell lines reacted also to the homologous peptide from GLUT-2, and that 3 out of 4 of tested cell lines reacted also to extracts of the human insulinoma cell line, CM. We conclude that T cell lines specific to bovine beta-casein can be isolated from the peripheral blood of patients with type 1 diabetes; these cell lines react with multiple and different sequences of the protein particularly towards the C-terminal portion. In addition, reactivity of beta-casein T cell lines to human insulinoma extracts and GLUT-2 peptide was detected, suggesting that the potential cross-reactivity with beta-cell antigens deserves further investigation.

Free access

VA Gault, PR Flatt, P Harriott, MH Mooney, CJ Bailey, and FP O'Harte

The therapeutic potential of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in improving glycaemic control in diabetes has been widely studied, but the potential beneficial effects of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) have until recently been almost overlooked. One of the major problems, however, in exploiting either GIP or GLP-1 as potential therapeutic agents is their short duration of action, due to enzymatic degradation in vivo by dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPP IV). Therefore, this study examined the plasma stability, biological activity and antidiabetic potential of two novel NH2-terminal Ala2-substituted analogues of GIP, containing glycine (Gly) or serine (Ser). Following incubation in plasma, (Ser2)GIP had a reduced hydrolysis rate compared with native GIP, while (Gly2)GIP was completely stable. In Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts stably transfected with the human GIP receptor, GIP, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP stimulated cAMP production with EC(50) values of 18.2, 14.9 and 15.0 nM respectively. In the pancreatic BRIN-BD11 beta-cell line, (Gly2)GIP and (Ser2)GIP (10(-8) M) evoked significant increases (1.2- and 1.5-fold respectively; P<0.01 to P<0.001) in insulinotropic activity compared with GIP. In obese diabetic ob/ob mice, both analogues significantly lowered (P<0.001) the glycaemic excursion in response to i.p. glucose. This enhanced glucose-lowering ability was coupled to a significantly raised (P<0.01) and more protracted insulin response compared with GIP. These data indicate that substitution of the penultimate Ala2 in GIP by Gly or Ser confers resistance to plasma DPP IV degradation, resulting in enhanced biological activity, therefore raising the possibility of their use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Free access

Bernard Khoo and Tricia Mei-Mei Tan

Obesity represents an important public health challenge for the twenty-first century: globalised, highly prevalent and increasingly common with time, this condition is likely to reverse some of the hard-won gains in mortality accomplished in previous centuries. In the search for safe and effective therapies for obesity and its companion, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), the gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has emerged as a forerunner and analogues thereof are now widely used in treatment of obesity and T2D, bringing proven benefits in improving glycaemia and weight loss and, notably, cardiovascular outcomes. However, GLP-1 alone is subject to limitations in terms of efficacy, and as a result, investigators are evaluating other gut hormones such as glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), glucagon and peptide YY (PYY) as possible partner hormones that may complement and enhance GLP-1’s therapeutic effects. Such combination gut hormone therapies are in pharmaceutical development at present and are likely to make it to market within the next few years. This review examines the physiological basis for combination gut hormone therapy and presents the latest clinical results that underpin the excitement around these treatments. We also pose, however, some hard questions for the field which need to be answered before the full benefit of such treatments can be realised.

Free access

Jennifer S ten Kulve, Dick J Veltman, Liselotte van Bloemendaal, Paul F C Groot, Henricus G Ruhé, Frederik Barkhof, Michaela Diamant, and Richard G Ijzerman

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) affects appetite, supposedly mediated via the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, we investigate whether modulation of CNS responses to palatable food consumption may be a mechanism by which GLP1 contributes to the central regulation of feeding. Using functional MRI, we determined the effects of endogenous GLP1 and treatment with the GLP1 analogue liraglutide on CNS activation to chocolate milk receipt. Study 1 included 20 healthy lean individuals and 20 obese patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Scans were performed on two occasions: during infusion of the GLP1 receptor antagonist exendin 9–39 (blocking actions of endogenous GLP1) and during placebo infusion. Study 2 was a randomised, cross-over intervention study carried out in 20 T2DM patients, comparing treatment with liraglutide to insulin, after 10 days and 12 weeks. Compared with lean individuals, T2DM patients showed reduced activation to chocolate milk in right insula (P = 0.04). In lean individuals, blockade of endogenous GLP1 effects inhibited activation in bilateral insula (P ≤ 0.03). Treatment in T2DM with liraglutide, vs insulin, increased activation to chocolate milk in right insula and caudate nucleus after 10 days (P ≤ 0.03); however, these effects ceased to be significant after 12 weeks. Our findings in healthy lean individuals indicate that endogenous GLP1 is involved in the central regulation of feeding by affecting central responsiveness to palatable food consumption. In obese T2DM, treatment with liraglutide may improve the observed deficit in responsiveness to palatable food, which may contribute to the induction of weight loss observed during treatment. However, no long-term effects of liraglutide were observed.

Free access

Isabel Göhring and Hindrik Mulder

In this issue of Journal of Endocrinology, Dr Han and colleagues report a protective effect of the glutamate dehydrogenase activator 2-aminobicyclo-(2,2,1)-heptane-2-carboxylic acid (BCH) under diabetes-like conditions that impair β-cell function in both a pancreatic β-cell line and db/db mice. Based on these observations, the authors suggest that BCH could serve as a novel treatment modality in type 2 diabetes. The present commentary discusses the importance of the findings. Some additional questions are raised, which may be addressed in future investigations, as there is some concern regarding the BCH treatment of β-cell failure.