The gut-derived incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are secreted after meal ingestion and work in concert to promote postprandial insulin secretion. Furthermore, GLP-1 inhibits glucagon secretion when plasma glucose concentrations are above normal fasting concentrations while GIP acts glucagonotropically at low glucose levels. A dual incretin receptor agonist designed to co-activate GLP-1 and GIP receptors was recently shown to elicit robust improvements of glycemic control (mean haemoglobin A1c reduction of 1.94%) and massive body weight loss (mean weight loss of 11.3 kg) after 26 weeks of treatment with the highest dose (15 mg once weekly) in a clinical trial including overweight/obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Here, we describe the mechanisms by which the two incretins modulate alpha cell secretion of glucagon, review the effects of co-administration of GLP-1 and GIP on glucagon secretion, and discuss the potential role of glucagon in the therapeutic effects observed with novel unimolecular dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonists. For clinicians and researchers, this manuscript offers an understanding of incretin physiology and pharmacology, and provides mechanistic insight into future antidiabetic and obesity treatments.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Udgave nummer17
StatusUdgivet - 22 aug. 2019


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