, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 423-433,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Nov 2012

Pharmacological reduction of NEFA restores the efficacy of incretin-based therapies through GLP-1 receptor signalling in the beta cell in mouse models of diabetes

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with reduced incretin effects. Although previous studies have shown that hyperglycaemia contributes to impaired incretin responses in beta cells, it is largely unknown how hyperlipidaemia, another feature of type 2 diabetes, contributes to impaired glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) response. Here, we investigated the effects of NEFA on incretin receptor signalling and examined the glucose-lowering efficacy of incretin-based drugs in combination with the lipid-lowering agent bezafibrate.

Methods

We used db/db mice to examine the in vivo efficacy of the treatment. Beta cell lines and mouse islets were used to examine GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide receptor signalling.

Results

Palmitate treatment decreased Glp1r expression in rodent insulinoma cell lines and isolated islets. This was associated with impairment of the following: GLP-1-stimulated cAMP production, phosphorylation of cAMP-responsive elements binding protein (CREB) and insulin secretion. In insulinoma cell lines, the expression of exogenous Glp1r restored cAMP production and the phosphorylation of CREB. Treatment with bezafibrate in combination with des-fluoro-sitagliptin or exendin-4 led to more robust glycaemic control, associated with improved islet morphology and beta cell mass in db/db mice.

Conclusions/interpretation

Elevated NEFA contributes to impaired responsiveness to GLP-1, partially through downregulation of GLP-1 receptor signalling. Improvements in lipid control in mouse models of obesity and diabetes increase the efficacy of incretin-based therapy.