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Journal Articles Diabetes & Metabolism Year : 2010

GLP-1: what is known, new and controversial in 2010?


Over the past 2 years, more than 1300 manuscripts have been published on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and yet, what do we know about it for sure? The European Club for the Study of GLP-1 (EuCSGLP-1) has debated the latest controversies concerning GLP-1, including both fundamental and clinical aspects, and concluded that the control of glucose metabolism by GLP-1 requires paracrine activation of the enteric nervous system to regulate numerous physiological functions. This involves-but is not limited to-the endocrine pancreas, liver, cardiovascular system, gastric-emptying and the brain. For this reason, the role of GLP-1 as an endocrine hormone has come under question. As systemic concentration of the peptide was not thought to be relevant to its physiological action, it was proposed that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors would involve the control of enteric, rather than circulating, DPP4 activity to effectively regulate glycaemia. In any case, the concomitant insulinotropic and glucagonostatic roles of GLP-1 were believed to be of equal importance to glucose control. Another important question was related to the role of GLP-1 on beta cell apoptosis, regeneration and differentiation in type 2 diabetic patients. Although evidence in vitro showed that GLP-1 controls these functions, such effects remain elusive in humans in vivo. Nevertheless, the consensus was that GLP-1 could control glucose responsiveness, one of the first impaired physiological functions at the onset of diabetes. The therapeutic efficiency of GLP-1 would be related to the initial restoration of glucose competence, while an increase of beta cell mass has not yet been demonstrated. From a clinical and fundamental point of view, it was concluded that, at the onset of diabetes, an initial triggering of GLP-1 secretion-by metformin coupled with a DPP4 inhibitor-would help to activate the gut-peripheral axis and, hence, restore adequate regulation of glycaemia. GLP-1 analogues would certainly be helpful in association with long-acting insulin (albeit off-label) in patients with impaired beta cells and GLP-1 secretory potential. However, a reliable and routine feasible test to systematically assess dynamic insulin secretion is essential. More important, factors that influence therapeutic response, such as compliance and lifestyle, as well as pharmacokinetics and dosing, disease duration, age, gender, ethnicity, patients' clinical characteristics, autonomic nervous system integrity and genotype characteristics also need to be considered. A few innovative perspectives have been debated, such as the recently discovered cardiovascular protective effects of the native GLP-1 peptide and its degradation product GLP-1(9-36), as well as the neuroprotection offered by GLP-1. Although still considered speculative, these perspectives remain hopeful and promising.

Dates and versions

inserm-00615229 , version 1 (18-08-2011)



Rémy Burcelin, Sylvie Dejager. GLP-1: what is known, new and controversial in 2010?. Diabetes & Metabolism, 2010, 36 (6 Pt 1), pp.503-9. ⟨10.1016/j.diabet.2010.09.002⟩. ⟨inserm-00615229⟩
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