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BA Reul, DJ Becker, LN Ongemba, CJ Bailey, JC Henquin and SM Brichard

Molybdate (Mo) exerts insulinomimetic effects in vitro. In this study, we evaluated whether Mo can improve glucose homeostasis in genetically obese, insulin-resistant ob/ob mice. Oral administration of Mo (174 mg/kg molybdenum element) for 7 weeks did not affect body weight, but decreased the hyperglycaemia (approximately 20 mM) of obese mice to the levels of lean (L) (+/+) mice, and reduced the hyperinsulinaemia to one-sixth of pretreatment levels. Tolerance to oral glucose was improved: total glucose area was 30% lower in Mo-treated mice than in untreated ob/ob mice (O), while the total insulin area was halved. Hepatic glucokinase (GK) mRNA level and activity were unchanged in O mice compared with L mice, but the mRNA level and activity of L-type pyruvate kinase (L-PK) were increased in O mice by 3.5- and 1.7-fold respectively. Mo treatment increased GK mRNA levels and activity (by approximately 2.2-fold and 61% compared with O values), and had no, or only a mild, effect on the already increased L-PK variables. mRNA levels and activity of the gluconeogenic enzyme, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) were augmented in O liver (sixfold and by 57% respectively), and these were reduced by Mo treatment. Insulin binding to partially purified receptors from liver was reduced in O mice and restored by Mo treatment. Despite this correction, overall receptor tyrosine kinase activity was not improved in Mo mice. Moreover, the overexpression (by two- to fourfold) of the cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in white adipose tissue, which may have a determinant role in the insulin resistance of the O mice, was unaffected by Mo. Likewise, overexpression of the ob gene in white adipose tissue was unchanged by Mo. In conclusion, Mo markedly improved glucose homeostasis in the ob/ob mice by an insulin-like action which appeared to be exerted distal to the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase step. The blood glucose-lowering effect of Mo was unrelated to over-expression of the TNF alpha and ob genes in O mice, but resulted at least in part from attenuation of liver insulin resistance by the reversal of pre-translational regulatory defects in these mice.

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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.

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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.