, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 197-207
Date: 06 May 2014

Effects of GLP-1 in the Kidney

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The incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), stimulates insulin secretion and forms the basis of a new drug class for diabetes treatment. GLP-1 has several extra-pancreatic properties which include effects on kidney function. Although renal GLP-1 receptors have been identified, their exact localization and physiological role are incompletely understood. GLP-1 increases natriuresis through inhibition of the sodium-hydrogen ion exchanger isoform 3 in the proximal tubule. This may in part explain why GLP-1 receptor agonists have antihypertensive effects. Glomerular filtration rate is regulated by GLP-1, but the mechanisms are complex and may depend on e.g. glycaemic conditions. Atrial natriuretic peptide or the renin-angiotensin system may be involved in the signalling of GLP-1-mediated renal actions. Several studies in rodents have shown that GLP-1 therapy is renoprotective beyond metabolic improvements in models of diabetic nephropathy and acute kidney injury. Inhibition of renal inflammation and oxidative stress probably mediate this protection. Clinical studies supporting GLP-1-mediated renal protection exist, but they are few and with limitations. However, acute and chronic kidney diseases are major global health concerns and measures improving renal outcome are highly needed. Therefore, the renoprotective potential of GLP-1 therapy need to be thoroughly investigated in humans.