Glucagon-like peptide-1 is an insulinotropic hormone with antidiabetic potential due to its spectrum of effects, which include glucose-dependent stimulation of insulin and inhibition of glucagon secretion, tropic effects on the pancreatic beta-cells, inhibition of gastric emptying and the reduction of appetite. Glucagon-like peptide-1 is, however, extremely rapidly inactivated by the serine peptidase, dipeptidyl peptidase IV, so that the native peptide is not useful clinically. A new approach to utilise the beneficial effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 in the treatment of type 2 diabetes has been the development of orally active dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that this approach is effective in enhancing endogenous levels of glucagon-like peptide-1, resulting in improved glucose tolerance in glucose-intolerant and diabetic animal models. In recent studies of 3-12 months duration in patients with type 2 diabetes, dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors have proved efficacious, both as monotherapy and when given in combination with metformin. Fasting and postprandial glucose concentrations were reduced, leading to reductions in glycosylated haemoglobin levels, while beta-cell function was preserved. Current information suggests dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors are body weight neutral and are well tolerated. A number of dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors are now in the late stages of clinical development. These have different properties, in terms of their duration of action and anticipated dosing frequency, but data from protracted dosing studies is presently not available to allow comparison of their clinical efficacy.
Keywords: Antigens, CD26; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Glucagon-Like Peptide 1; Humans; Protease Inhibitors