The role of incretins in cardiovascular control

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an incretin secreted in response to nutrient ingestion. Understanding the incretin effect on diabetes pathophysiology has led to development of a new class of agents termed incretin mimetics. Exenatide is the first GLP-1 agonist approved to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Clinical studies have demonstrated exenatide's efficacy in improving glycemic control, often coupled with weight loss. Studies are investigating the potential cardiovascular benefits of GLP-1 agonists. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, C-reactive protein, and insulin resistance may improve in patients treated with exenatide. The direct effect of GLP-1 on cardiac myocytes and vascular smooth muscle has been an active area of investigation. Infusions of GLP-1 in animal models and human subjects with heart failure have demonstrated significantly improved cardia parameters. In patients with T2DM, GLP-1 infusion has been shown to improve endothelial function, irrespective of changes in insulin sensitivity. These pilot studies provide a foundation for developing therapies aimed at modulating incretin physiology for the additional benefit on the cardiovascular system in patients with T2DM and heart disease. 

PMID: 19146796 [PubMed - in process] 


Mafong DD, Henry RR. The role of incretins in cardiovascular control. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2009;11(1):18-22. 

Last Modified: 3/1/2013