Long-term exendin-4 treatment delays natural deterioration of glycaemic control in diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats

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L Simonsen, S Pilgaard, C Orskov, B Hartmann, Jens Juul Holst, C F Deacon

AIM: The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, exendin-4, has previously been shown to delay the onset of diabetes when administered to Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats in the prediabetic period. The present study aimed to evaluate whether long-term administration of exendin-4 to GK rats in the diabetic period would improve their diabetes and how glycaemic control was affected following drug wash-out. METHODS: Glycaemic control was assessed in diabetic GK rats during 12 weeks of exendin-4 or vehicle treatment. Moreover, some animals were followed for an additional 9 weeks without treatment. RESULTS: Glycaemic control was seen to deteriorate in vehicle-treated animals, as assessed by increased glycated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), whereas HbA1c improved in exendin-4-treated animals. Following an additional 9 weeks without treatment, glycaemic control in exendin-4-treated animals remained below baseline value and thus remained significantly lower than that of vehicle-treated animals. Following exendin-4 administration, oral glucose tolerance tests revealed greatly reduced glucose and insulin excursions compared with vehicle-treated animals, whereas following overnight drug wash-out, only little difference was seen, suggesting that the improvement in glycaemic control may have been obtained primarily by increased postprandial control. No significant differences were observed in pancreatic islet morphology or islet hormone content. CONCLUSIONS: Exendin-4 treatment improved glycaemic control in diabetic GK rats, independent of changes in beta-cell mass. Additionally, progression of the disease seemed to be delayed because the improvement in HbA1c was still apparent 9 weeks after cessation of treatment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Volume11
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)884-90
Number of pages6
ISSN1462-8902
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ID: 18700649