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BD Green, MH Mooney, VA Gault, N Irwin, CJ Bailey, P Harriott, B Greer, FP O'Harte and PR Flatt

Glucagon-like peptide-1(7-36)amide (GLP-1) possesses several unique and beneficial effects for the potential treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, the rapid inactivation of GLP-1 by dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV) results in a short half-life in vivo (less than 2 min) hindering therapeutic development. In the present study, a novel His(7)-modified analogue of GLP-1, N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1, as well as N-acetyl-GLP-1 were synthesised and tested for DPP IV stability and biological activity. Incubation of GLP-1 with either DPP IV or human plasma resulted in rapid degradation of native GLP-1 to GLP-1(9-36)amide, while N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 were completely resistant to degradation. N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 bound to the GLP-1 receptor but had reduced affinities (IC(50) values 32.9 and 6.7 nM, respectively) compared with native GLP-1 (IC(50) 0.37 nM). Similarly, both analogues stimulated cAMP production with EC(50) values of 16.3 and 27 nM respectively compared with GLP-1 (EC(50) 4.7 nM). However, N-acetyl-GLP-1 and N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 exhibited potent insulinotropic activity in vitro at 5.6 mM glucose (P<0.05 to P<0.001) similar to native GLP-1. Both analogues (25 nM/kg body weight) lowered plasma glucose and increased plasma insulin levels when administered in conjunction with glucose (18 nM/kg body weight) to adult obese diabetic (ob/ob) mice. N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 was substantially better at lowering plasma glucose compared with the native peptide, while N-acetyl-GLP-1 was significantly more potent at stimulating insulin secretion. These studies indicate that N-terminal modification of GLP-1 results in DPP IV-resistant and biologically potent forms of GLP-1. The particularly powerful antihyperglycaemic action of N-pyroglutamyl-GLP-1 shows potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

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J C Parker, K S Lavery, N Irwin, B D Green, B Greer, P Harriott, F P M O’Harte, V A Gault and P R Flatt

Glucose-dependent insulinotrophic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) are important enteroendocrine hormones that are rapidly degraded by an ubiquitous enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV to yield truncated metabolites GIP(3–42) and GLP-1(9–36)amide. In this study, we investigated the effects of sub-chronic exposure to these major circulating forms of GIP and GLP-1 on blood glucose control and endocrine pancreatic function in obese diabetic (ob/ob) mice. A once daily injection of either peptide for 14 days had no effect on body weight, food intake or pancreatic insulin content or islet morphology. GLP-1(9–36)amide also had no effect on plasma glucose homeostasis or insulin secretion. Mice receiving GIP(3–42) exhibited small but significant improvements in non-fasting plasma glucose, glucose tolerance and glycaemic response to feeding. Accordingly, plasma insulin responses were unchanged suggesting that the observed enhancement of insulin sensitivity was responsible for the improvement in glycaemic control. These data indicate that sub-chronic exposure to GIP and GLP-1 metabolites does not result in physiological impairment of insulin secretion or blood glucose control. GIP(3–42) might exert an overall beneficial effect by improving insulin sensitivity through extrapancreatic action.