GLP-1 Promotes Cortical and Medullary Perfusion in the Human Kidney and Maintains Renal Oxygenation During NaCl Loading

Bryan Haddock, Kasper B Kristensen, Mahvish Tayyab, Henrik B W Larsson, Ulrich Lindberg, Mark Vestergaard, Susan Francis, Boye L Jensen, Ulrik B Andersen, Ali Asmar*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Background GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists exert beneficial long-term effects on cardiovascular and renal outcomes. In humans, the natriuretic effect of GLP-1 depends on GLP-1 receptor interaction, is accompanied by suppression of angiotensin II, and is independent of changes in renal plasma flow. In rodents, angiotensin II constricts vasa recta and lowers medullary perfusion. The current randomized, controlled, crossover study was designed to test the hypothesis that GLP-1 increases renal medullary perfusion in healthy humans. Methods and Results Healthy male participants (n=10, aged 27±4 years) ingested a fixed sodium intake for 4 days and were examined twice during a 1-hour infusion of either GLP-1 (1.5 pmol/kg per minute) or placebo together with infusion of 0.9% NaCl (750 mL/h). Interleaved measurements of renal arterial blood flow, oxygenation (R2*), and perfusion were acquired in the renal cortex and medulla during infusions, using magnetic resonance imaging. GLP-1 infusion increased medullary perfusion (32±7%, P<0.001) and cortical perfusion (13±4%, P<0.001) compared with placebo. Here, NaCl infusion decreased medullary perfusion (-5±2%, P=0.007), whereas cortical perfusion remained unchanged. R2* values increased by 3±2% (P=0.025) in the medulla and 4±1% (P=0.008) in the cortex during placebo, indicative of decreased oxygenation, but remained unchanged during GLP-1. Blood flow in the renal artery was not altered significantly by either intervention. Conclusions GLP-1 increases predominantly medullary but also cortical perfusion in the healthy human kidney and maintains renal oxygenation during NaCl loading. In perspective, suppression of angiotensin II by GLP-1 may account for the increase in regional perfusion. Registration URL:; Unique identifier: NCT04337268.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere027712
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023


  • Angiotensin II/pharmacology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1/pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Medulla
  • Male
  • Perfusion
  • Renal Circulation
  • Sodium Chloride
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • perfusion
  • arterial spin labelling
  • renal
  • kidney
  • RBF
  • BOLD
  • GLP‐1


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