Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Is Associated With Systemic Inflammation in Pediatric Patients Treated With Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

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Patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are challenged with severe side effects, which are propagated by mucosal barrier disruption, and the related microbial translocation and systemic inflammation. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a well-known incretin hormone, possesses anti-inflammatory properties and promotes regeneration of damaged intestinal epithelium in animal studies. We hypothesized that the immense inter-individual variation in the degree of mucosal damage and systemic inflammation, seen after HSCT is influenced by endogenous GLP-1 and could be related to acute post-transplant complications. In this prospective study we measured serial weekly fasting plasma GLP-1, along with C-reactive protein (CRP), and citrulline in 82 pediatric patients during allogeneic HSCT together with a fasting plasma GLP-1 in sex- and age-matched healthy controls. Overall, GLP-1 levels were increased in the patients during the course of HSCT compared with the controls, but tended to decrease post-transplant, most pronounced in patients receiving high-intensity conditioning regimen. The increase in CRP seen in the early post-transplant phase was significantly lower from day +8 to +13 in patients with GLP-1 above the upper quartile (>10 pmol/L) at day 0 (all P ≤ 0.03). Similar findings were seen for peak CRP levels after adjusting for type of conditioning (-47.0%; 95% CI, -8.1 – -69.4%, P = 0.02). Citrulline declined significantly following the transplantation illustrating a decrease in viable enterocytes, most evident in patients receiving high-intensity conditioning regimen. GLP-1 levels at day 0 associated with the recovery rate of citrulline from day 0 to +21 (34 percentage points (pp)/GLP-1 doubling; 95% CI, 10 – 58pp; P = 0. 008) and day 0 to day +90 (48 pp/GLP-1 doubling; 95% CI, 17 – 79pp; P = 0. 004), also after adjustment for type of conditioning. This translated into a reduced risk of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGvHD) in patients with highest day 0 GLP-1 levels (>10 pmol/L) (cause-specific HR: 0.3; 95% CI, 0.2 – 0.9, P = 0.02). In conclusion, this study strongly suggests that GLP-1 influences regeneration of injured epithelial barriers and ameliorates inflammatory responses in the early post-transplant phase.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, high-dose chemotherapy, glucagon-like peptide-1, toxicity, systemic inflammation, pediatrics, growth factors

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