Endocrinology and Metabolism

One year of sitagliptin treatment protects against islet amyloid-associated β-cell loss and does not induce pancreatitis or pancreatic neoplasia in mice

Kathryn Aston-Mourney, Shoba L. Subramanian, Sakeneh Zraika, Thanya Samarasekera, Daniel T. Meier, Lynn C. Goldstein, Rebecca L. Hull


The dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor sitagliptin is an attractive therapy for diabetes, as it increases insulin release and may preserve β-cell mass. However, sitagliptin also increases β-cell release of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), the peptide component of islet amyloid, which is cosecreted with insulin. Thus, sitagliptin treatment may promote islet amyloid formation and its associated β-cell toxicity. Conversely, metformin treatment decreases islet amyloid formation by decreasing β-cell secretory demand and could therefore offset sitagliptin's potential proamyloidogenic effects. Sitagliptin treatment has also been reported to be detrimental to the exocrine pancreas. We investigated whether long-term sitagliptin treatment, alone or with metformin, increased islet amyloid deposition and β-cell toxicity and induced pancreatic ductal proliferation, pancreatitis, and/or pancreatic metaplasia/neoplasia. hIAPP transgenic and nontransgenic littermates were followed for 1 yr on no treatment, sitagliptin, metformin, or the combination. Islet amyloid deposition, β-cell mass, insulin release, and measures of exocrine pancreas pathology were determined. Relative to untreated mice, sitagliptin treatment did not increase amyloid deposition, despite increasing hIAPP release, and prevented amyloid-induced β-cell loss. Metformin treatment alone or with sitagliptin decreased islet amyloid deposition to a similar extent vs untreated mice. Ductal proliferation was not altered among treatment groups, and no evidence of pancreatitis, ductal metaplasia, or neoplasia were observed. Therefore, long-term sitagliptin treatment stimulates β-cell secretion without increasing amyloid formation and protects against amyloid-induced β-cell loss. This suggests a novel effect of sitagliptin to protect the β-cell in type 2 diabetes that appears to occur without adverse effects on the exocrine pancreas.

  • DPP-4 inhibitor
  • IAPP
  • β-cell mass
  • amyloid
  • exocrine pancreas pathology
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