Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) may have direct favorable effects on cardiovascular system. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the GLP-1 analog exenatide on improving coronary endothelial function in patients with type 2 diabetes and to investigate the underlying mechanisms. The newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic subjects were enrolled and given either lifestyle intervention or lifestyle intervention plus exenatide treatment. After 12-wk treatment, coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR), an important indicator of coronary endothelial function, was improved significantly, and serum levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) were remarkably decreased in the exenatide treatment group compared with the baseline and the control group. Notably, CFVR was correlated inversely with hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) and positively with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). In human umbilical vein endothelial cells, exendin-4 (a form of exenatide) significantly increased NO production, endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation, and GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GTPCH1) level in a dose-dependent manner. The GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) antagonist exendin (9–39) or GLP-1R siRNA, adenylyl cyclase inhibitor SQ-22536, AMPK inhibitor compound C, and PI3K inhibitor LY-294002 abolished the effects of exendin-4. Furthermore, exendin-4 reversed homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction by decreasing sICAM-1 and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and upregulating NO production and eNOS phosphorylation. Likewise, exendin (9–39) diminished the protective effects of exendin-4 on the homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction. In conclusion, exenatide significantly improves coronary endothelial function in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. The effect may be mediated through activation of AMPK/PI3K-Akt/eNOS pathway via a GLP-1R/cAMP-dependent mechanism.
- AMP-activated protein kinase
- endothelial nitric oxide synthase
- coronary flow velocity reserve
- glucagon-like peptide-1
- human umbilical vein endothelial cells
- type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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