Endurance Training Improves GLP-1 Sensitivity and Glucose Tolerance in Overweight Women

Thorbjörn Åkerström, Malene N Stolpe, Renate Widmer, Thomas F Dejgaard, Jens M Højberg, Kirsten Møller, Jakob S Hansen, Beckey Trinh, Jens J Holst, Carsten Thomsen, Bente K Pedersen, Helga Ellingsgaard*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Context and objective: Obesity and inactivity are risk factors for developing impaired glucose tolerance characterized by insulin resistance and reduced beta-cell function. The stimulatory effect of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) on insulin secretion is also impaired in obese, inactive individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether endurance training influences beta-cell sensitivity to GLP-1.

Participants and intervention: Twenty-four female participants, age 46 ± 2 years, body mass index 32.4 ± 0.9 kg/m2, and maximal oxygen consumption 24.7 ± 0.8 mL/kg/min participated in a 10-week exercise training study.

Methods: Beta-cell sensitivity to GLP-1 was assessed in a subset of participants (n = 6) during a 120-minute hyperglycemic glucose clamp (8.5 mM) including a 1-hour GLP-1 (7-36 amide) infusion (0.4 pmol/kg/min). Changes in glucose tolerance, body composition, and cardiorespiratory fitness were assessed by oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, magnetic resonance scans, and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) tests, respectively.

Results: The c-peptide response to infusion of GLP-1 increased 28 ± 3% (P < 0.05) toward the end of the hyperglycemic clamp. The insulin response remained unchanged. Training improved glucose tolerance and reduced GLP-1, insulin, and glucagon levels during the OGTTs. Training increased VO2max (from 24.7 ± 0.8 to 27.0 ± 0.7 mL/kg/min; P < 0.05) and reduced visceral fat volume (from 4176 ± 265 to 3888 ± 266 cm3; P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Along with improved glycemic control, endurance training improved beta-cell sensitivity to GLP-1 in overweight women. The study was deemed not to constitute a clinical trial and was not registered as such.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022


  • GLP-1 sensitivity
  • exercise
  • obese


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