Lotte Bjerre Knudsen

Novo Nordisk, København, Capital Region, Denmark

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Publications (58)248.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In addition to a prominent role in glycemic control, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists exhibit neuroprotective properties. There is mounting experimental evidence that GLP-1 receptor agonists, including liraglutide, may enhance synaptic plasticity, counteract cognitive deficits and ameliorate neurodegenerative features in preclinical models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), predominantly in the context of β-amyloid toxicity. Here we characterized the effects of liraglutide in a transgenic mutant tau (hTauP301L) mouse tauopathy model, which develops age-dependent pathology-specific neuronal tau phosphorylation and neurofibrillary tangle formation with progressively compromised motor function (limb clasping). Liraglutide (500 µg/kg/day, s.c., q.d., n=18) or vehicle (n=18) was administered to hTauP301L mice for 6 months from the age of three months. Vehicle-dosed wild-type FVB/N mice served as normal control (n=17). The onset and severity of hind limb clasping was markedly different in liraglutide and vehicle-dosed transgenic mice. Clasping behavior was observed in 61% of vehicle-dosed hTauP301L mice with a 55% survival rate in 9-month old transgenic mice. In contrast, liraglutide treatment reduced the clasping rate to 39% of hTauP301L mice, and fully prevented clasping-associated lethality resulting in a survival rate of 89%. Stereological analyses demonstrated that hTauP301L mice exhibited hindbrain-dominant neuronal accumulation of phosphorylated tau closely correlated to the severity of clasping behavior. In correspondence, liraglutide treatment significantly reduced neuronal phospho-tau load by 61.9±10.2% (p<0.001) in hTauP301L mice, as compared to vehicle-dosed controls. In conclusion, liraglutide significantly reduced tau pathology in a transgenic mouse tauopathy model.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Brain research
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    ABSTRACT: Liraglutide is an acylated Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog that binds to serum albumin in vivo, and is approved for once daily treatment of diabetes as well as obesity. The aim of the present studies was to design a once-weekly GLP-1 analog by increasing albumin affinity and secure full stability against metabolic degradation. The fatty acid moiety and the linking chemistry to GLP-1 were the key features to secure high albumin affinity and GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) potency and in obtaining a prolonged exposure and action of the GLP-1 analog. Semaglutide was selected as the optimal once weekly candidate. Semaglutide has two amino acid substitutions compared to human GLP-1 (Aib8, Arg34) and is derivatized at lysine 26. The GLP-1R affinity of semaglutide (0.38 ± 0.06 nM) was 3-fold decreased compared to liraglutide, whereas the albumin affinity was increased. The plasma half-life was 46h in mini-pigs following i.v. administration and semaglutide has an MRT of 63.6h after s.c. dosing. Semaglutide is currently in phase 3 clinical testing.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies indicate that glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, currently used in the management of type 2 diabetes, exhibit neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects in amyloid-β (Aβ) toxicity models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We investigated the potential pro-cognitive and neuroprotective effects of the once-daily GLP-1 receptor agonist liraglutide in senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) mice, a model of age-related sporadic AD not dominated by Aβ plaques. Six-month-old SAMP8 mice received liraglutide (100 or 500 μg/kg/day, s.c.) or vehicle once daily for 4 months. Vehicle-dosed age-matched 50% back-crossed as well as untreated young (4-month-old) SAMP8 mice were used as control groups for normal memory function. Vehicle-dosed 10-month-old SAMP8 mice showed significant learning and memory retention deficits in an active-avoidance T-maze, as compared to both control groups. Also, 10-month-old SAMP8 mice displayed no immunohistological signatures of Aβ plaques or hyperphosphorylated tau, indicating the onset of cognitive deficits prior to deposition of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in this AD model. Liraglutide significantly increased memory retention and total hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron numbers in SAMP8 mice, as compared to age-matched vehicle-dosed SAMP8 mice. In conclusion, liraglutide delayed or partially halted the progressive decline in memory function associated with hippocampal neuronal loss in a mouse model of pathological aging with characteristics of neurobehavioral and neuropathological impairments observed in early-stage sporadic AD.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD
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    ABSTRACT: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is released from endocrine L-cells lining the gut in response to food ingestion. However, GLP-1 is also produced in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) where it acts as an anorectic neurotransmitter and key regulator of many autonomic and neuroendocrine functions. The expression and projections of GLP-1-producing neurons is highly conserved between rodent and primate brain, although a few key differences have been identified. The GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) has been mapped in the rodent brain, but no studies have described the distribution of GLP-1Rs in the nonhuman primate central nervous system. Here, we characterized the distribution of GLP-1R mRNA and protein in the adult macaque brain using in situ hybridization, radioligand receptor autoradiography and immunohistochemistry with a primate specific GLP-1R antibody. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the GLP-1R is localized to cell bodies and fiber terminals in a very selective distribution throughout the brain. Consistent with the functional role of the GLP-1R system, we find the highest concentration of GLP-1R-immunoreactivity present in select hypothalamic and brainstem regions that regulate feeding including the paraventricular and arcuate hypothalamic nuclei, as well as the area postrema, NTS, and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. Together, our data demonstrate that GLP-1R distribution is highly conserved between rodent and primate although a few key species differences were identified including the amygdala where GLP-1R expression is much higher in primate than in rodent.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog marketed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Besides lowering blood glucose, liraglutide also reduces body weight. It is not fully understood how liraglutide induces weight loss or to what degree liraglutide acts directly in the brain. Here, we determined that liraglutide does not activate GLP-1–producing neurons in the hindbrain, and liraglutide-dependent body weight reduction in rats was independent of GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1Rs) in the vagus nerve, area postrema, and paraventricular nucleus. Peripheral injection of fluorescently labeled liraglutide in mice revealed the presence of the drug in the circumventricular organs. Moreover, labeled liraglutide bound neurons within the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and other discrete sites in the hypothalamus. GLP-1R was necessary for liraglutide uptake in the brain, as liraglutide binding was not seen in Glp1r–/– mice. In the ARC, liraglutide was internalized in neurons expressing proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). Electrophysiological measurements of murine brain slices revealed that GLP-1 directly stimulates POMC/CART neurons and indirectly inhibits neurotransmission in neurons expressing neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) via GABA-dependent signaling. Collectively, our findings indicate that the GLP-1R on POMC/CART-expressing ARC neurons likely mediates liraglutide-induced weight loss.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    Alan Charles Moses · Lotte Bjerre Knudsen · Claus Bo Svendsen

    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Pancreas
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    ABSTRACT: Increased pancreas mass and glucagon-positive adenomas have been suggested to be a risk associated with sitagliptin or exenatide therapy in humans. Novo Nordisk has conducted extensive toxicology studies including data on pancreas weight and histology in Cynomolgus monkeys dosed with two different human GLP-1 receptor agonists. In a 52-week study with liraglutide, a dose-related increase in absolute pancreas weight, in female monkeys only, was observed. Such dose-related increase was not found in studies of 4, 13 or 87 weeks' duration. No treatment-related histopathological abnormalities were observed in any of the studies. Quantitative histology of the pancreas from the 52-week study showed an increase in the exocrine cell mass in liraglutide-dosed animals, with normal composition of both endocrine and exocrine cellular compartments. Proliferation rate of the exocrine tissue was low and comparable between groups. Endocrine cell mass and proliferation rate were unaltered by liraglutide treatment. Semaglutide showed no increase in pancreas weight and no treatment related histopathological findings in the pancreas after 13 or 52 weeks' dosing. Overall, based on 138 nonhuman primates, there were no histopathological changes in the pancreas associated with liraglutide or semaglutide, two structurally different GLP-1 receptor agonists.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Diabetes
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    ABSTRACT: Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogues are increasingly used in treatment of type 2 diabetes. While it is clear that these drugs lower blood glucose through an increase in insulin secretion and a lowering of glucagon secretion, they also lower body weight and systolic blood pressure and increase heart rate. Using a new monoclonal antibody for immunohistochemistry (IHC) we detected GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) in important target organs in humans and monkeys. In the pancreas, GLP-1R was predominantly localized in beta-cells with a markedly weaker expression in acinar cells. Pancreatic ductal epithelial cells did not express GLP-1R. In the kidney and lung GLP-1R was exclusively expressed in smooth muscle cells in the wall of arteries and arterioles. In the heart, GLP-1R was localized in myocytes of the sinoatrial node. In the gastrointestinal tract, the highest GLP-1R expression was seen in Brunner's gland in the duodenum, with lower level expression in parietal cells and smooth muscle cells in the muscularis externa in the stomach, and in myenteric nerve plexus neurons throughout the gut. No GLP-1R was seen in primate liver and thyroid. GLP-1R expression seen with IHC was confirmed by functional expression using in situ ligand binding (ISLB) with (125)I-GLP-1. In conclusion, these results give important new insight into the molecular mode of action of GLP-1 analogues by identifying the exact cellular localization of GLP-1R.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Endocrinology

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Diabetes care
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    ABSTRACT: The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) belongs to family B of the G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and has become a promising target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Here we describe the development and characterization of a fully functional cysteine-deprived and C-terminally truncated GLP-1R. Single cysteines were initially substituted with alanine, and functionally redundant cysteines were subsequently changed simultaneously. Our results indicate that Cys(174), Cys(226), Cys(296) and Cys(403) are important for the GLP-1-mediated response, whereas Cys(236), Cys(329), Cys(341), Cys(347), Cys(438), Cys(458) and Cys(462) are not. Extensive deletions were made in the C-terminal tail of GLP-1R in order to determine the limit for truncation. As for other family B GPCRs, we observed a direct correlation between the length of the C-terminal tail and specific binding of (125)I-GLP-1, indicating that the membrane proximal part of the C-terminal is involved in receptor expression at the cell surface. The results show that seven cysteines and more than half of the C-terminal tail can be removed from GLP-1R without compromising GLP-1 binding or function.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Peptides
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    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Regulatory Peptides
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    Charles Pyke · Lotte Bjerre Knudsen

    Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: A possible association between glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogs and incidences of pancreatitis has been suggested based on clinical studies. In male and female diabetic Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, we investigated the effects of continuous administration of liraglutide and exenatide on biochemical [lipase, pancreatic amylase (P-amylase)] and histopathological markers of pancreatitis. Male and female ZDF rats were dosed for 13 wk with liraglutide (0.4 or 1.0 mg·kg(-1)·day(-1) sc once daily) or exenatide (0.25 mg·kg(-1)·day(-1) sc, Alzet osmotic minipumps). P-amylase and lipase plasma activity were measured, and an extended histopathological and stereological (specific cell mass and proliferation rate) evaluation of the exocrine and the endocrine pancreas was performed. Expectedly, liraglutide and exenatide lowered blood glucose and Hb A(1c) in male and female ZDF rats, whereas β-cell mass and proliferation rate were increased with greatly improved blood glucose control. Whereas neither analog affected lipase activity, small increases in P-amylase activity were observed in animals treated with liraglutide and exenatide. However, concurrent or permanent increases in lipase and P-amylase activity were never observed. Triglycerides were lowered by both GLP-1 analogs. The qualitative histopathological findings did not reveal adverse effects of liraglutide. The findings were mainly minimal in severity and focal in distribution. Similarly, the quantitative stereological analyses revealed no effects of liraglutide or exenatide on overall pancreas weight or exocrine and duct cell mass or proliferation. The present study demonstrates that, in overtly diabetic male and female ZDF rats, prolonged exposure to GLP-1 receptor agonists does not affect biochemical or histopathological markers of pancreatitis, and whereas both exenatide and liraglutide increase β-cell mass, they have no effect on the exocrine pancreas. However, clinical outcome studies and studies using primate tissues and/or studies in nonhuman primates are needed to further assess human risk.
    Preview · Article · May 2012 · AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Liraglutide and exenatide are glucagon-like peptide receptor (GLP-1R) agonists used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Both molecules have been associated with the development of thyroid C-cell tumors after lifetime exposure in rodents. Previously, it has been reported that these tumors are preceded by increased plasma calcitonin and C-cell hyperplasia. We can now document that the murine C-cell effects are mediated via GLP-1R. Thus, 13 wk of continuous exposure to GLP-1R agonists was associated with marked increases in plasma calcitonin and in the incidence of C-cell hyperplasia in wild-type mice. In contrast, similar effects were not seen in GLP-1R knockout mice. Human C-cell cancer is often caused by activating mutations in the rearranged-during-transfection (RET) protooncogene. We developed an immunohistochemical method to assess RET activation in tissues. Liraglutide dosing to mice was not found to activate RET. Further evaluation of the signaling pathways demonstrated that liraglutide increased ribosomal S6, but not MAPK kinase, phosphorylation. These observations are consistent with effects of GLP-1R agonists on rodent C cells being mediated via mammalian target of rapamycin activation in a RET- and MAPK-independent manner.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Endocrinology
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    Niels C B Nyborg · Anne-Marie Mølck · Lars W Madsen · Lotte Bjerre Knudsen
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    ABSTRACT: Glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 analogs have been implicated as a risk factor for pancreatitis in humans. We investigated whether liraglutide, the once-daily human GLP-1 analog, induces pancreatitis in rats, mice, and monkeys. Pancreata from mice, rats, and nonhuman primates were examined macro- and microscopically. Evaluation of preneoplastic proliferative lesions in the pancreata from nonhuman primates was performed. After 2 years of treatment, 3 of 79 male mice in the control group and 2, 1, 1, and 1 mice in the different liraglutide groups (of 67-79 mice per group) had pancreatitis based on microscopic criteria. For females, the numbers were 0 of 79 mice in the control group and 3 mice in all the liraglutide groups (of 66-76 mice per group). Pancreatitis was not the cause of death in any animals. There were no cases of pancreatitis, macroscopically or microscopically, in 400 rats. Neither pancreatitis nor preneoplastic proliferative lesions was found in monkeys dosed for 87 weeks, with plasma liraglutide exposure 60-fold higher than that observed in humans at the maximal clinical dose. In conclusion, liraglutide did not induce pancreatitis in mice, rats, or monkeys when dosed for up to 2 years and at exposure levels up to 60 times higher than in humans.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Diabetes
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    ABSTRACT: Of the mammalian species, only the GLP-1 receptors of rat and human origin have been described and characterized. Here, we report the cloning of the homologous GLP-1 receptors from mouse, rabbit, pig, cynomolgus monkey and chimp. The GLP-1 receptor is highly conserved across species, thus underlining the physiological importance of the peptide hormone and its receptor across a wide range of mammals. We expressed the receptors by stable transfection of BHK cells, both in cell lines with high expression levels of the cloned receptors, as well as in cell lines with lower expression levels, more comparable to endogenous expression of these receptors. High expression levels of cloned GLP-1 receptors markedly increased the potency of GLP-1 and other high affinity ligands, whereas the K(d) values were not affected. For a low affinity ligand like the ago-allosteric modulator Compound 2, expression levels of the human GLP-1 receptor were important for maximal efficacy as well as potency. The two natural metabolites of GLP-1, GLP-1(9-37) and GLP-1(9-36)amide were agonists when tested on a cell line with high expression of the recombinant human GLP-1 receptor, whereas they behaved as (low potent) antagonists on a cell line that expressed the receptor endogenously, as well as cells expressing a moderate level of the recombinant human GLP-1 receptor. The amide form was a more potent agonist than the free acid from. In conclusion, receptor expression level is an important parametre for selecting cell lines with cloned GLP-1 receptors for functional characterization of physiological and pharmaceutical ligands.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Regulatory Peptides
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    J Jelsing · N Vrang · G Hansen · K Raun · M Tang-Christensen · L Bjerre Knudsen
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies with the novel once daily glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue liraglutide and the GLP-1 receptor agonist exenatide have revealed profound insulinotrophic and antidiabetic effects, but also potent effects on gastric emptying (GE) and long-term and lasting reductions in body weight. In this study, we examined the acute and chronic effects of two different GLP-1 analogues with different pharmacokinetic profiles on GE, food intake and body weight. On the basis of a series of dose-finding studies, the doses of exenatide and liraglutide with similar acute anorectic effects were identified. GE was assessed using a standard acetaminophen release assay. After the acute test, rats were dosed bi-daily for 14 days in which period food intake and body weight was monitored. On day 14, the GE rate was reassessed. While both compounds exerted robust acute reductions in GE, the effect was markedly diminished following 14 days of dosing with liraglutide. In contrast, exenatide-treated rats still displayed a profound reduction in GE at the 14-day time-point. Both compounds exerted similar effects on body weight. The data suggest that the 'gastric inhibitory' GLP-1 receptors in rats are subject to desensitization/tachyphylaxis but that this effect is dependent on full 24-h exposure as obtained by liraglutide. The body weight-lowering effects of GLP-1 receptor stimulation are not subject to desensitization. These data indicate that regulation of appetite signals in the brain, and not GE, is the main mechanism for liraglutide-induced weight loss.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) activates the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R), which belongs to family B of the G-protein-coupled receptors. We previously identified a selective small molecule ligand, compound 2, that acted as a full agonist and allosteric modulator of GLP-1R. In this study, the structurally related small molecule, compound 3, stimulated cAMP production from GLP-1R, but not from the homologous glucagon receptor (GluR). The receptor selectivity encouraged a chimeric receptor approach to identify domains important for compound 3-mediated activation of GLP-1R. A subsegment of the GLP-1R transmembrane domain containing TM2 to TM5 was sufficient to transfer compound 3 responsiveness to GluR. Therefore, divergent residues in this subsegment of GLP-1R and GluR are responsible for the receptor selectivity of compound 3. Functional analyses of other chimeric receptors suggested that the existence of a helix-helix interface between TM1 and TM7 is important for the compound 3 response. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis revealed that a Phe195-Leu substitution in TM2 and a Thr391-Ala substitution in TM7 increased and decreased the efficacy of compound 3 without disturbing the potency or efficacy of GLP-1. Collectively, differential effects of receptor mutations suggest that TM2 and/or TM7 are important for compound 3-mediated activation of GLP-1R.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperglycemia induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in diabetic vascular cells is considered an increasingly important factor for the genesis and development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications. This study investigated firstly, the effect of hyperglycemia in ER stress induction in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) and secondly, the impact of Glucagon like petide-1 (GLP-1) analogue, Liraglutide, in reducing ER stress in HUVECs exposed to high glucose (HG). HUVECs were incubated for 12 hr in 5 mmol/L normal glucose (NG) or in 25 mmol/L (HG) glucose with or without different concentrations of Liraglutide (1 nM, 10 nM or 100 nM) and components of ER stress pathways studied, using western blotting, to assess their expression levels. Our data confirmed that exposure of HUVECs to HG up-regulated both up- (Bip/Grp78, PERK and IRE1α) and downstream (Calnexin, PDI and Ero1-Lα) markers of ER stress compared with control. Furthermore, Liraglutide showed a dose dependent capacity in preventing the onset of ER stress in HUVECs, with a maximum activity at 100 nM. HG also upregulated proapoptotic PUMA protein levels compared to controls. Interestingly, Liraglutide also induced OPA1, a marker of mitochondrial fusion, in a dose dependent manner. Liraglutide prevented the onset of ER stress in human endothelial cells exposed to HG. Our data suggest that Liraglutide may exert its effects by inducing mitochondrial fusion processes, thus preventing HG induced mitochondrial fragmentation and apoptosis in human endothelial cells.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Regulatory Peptides
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    ABSTRACT: The glucagon like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist liraglutide attenuates induction of plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) and vascular adhesion molecule (VAM) expression in human vascular endothelial cells (hVECs) in vitro and may afford protection against endothelial cell dysfunction (ECD), an early abnormality in diabetic vascular disease. Our study aimed to establish the dependence of the in vitro effects of liraglutide on the GLP-1R and characterise its in vivo effects in a mouse model of ECD. In vitro studies utilised the human vascular endothelial cell line C11-STH and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for determination of PAI-1 and VAM expression. In vivo studies of vascular reactivity and immunohistochemical analysis were performed in the ApoE(-/-) mouse model. In vitro studies demonstrated GLP-1R-dependent liraglutide-mediated inhibition of stimulated PAI-1 and VAM expression. In vivo studies demonstrated significant improvement in endothelial function in liraglutide treated mice, a GLP-1R dependent effect. Liraglutide treatment also increased endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and reduced intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression in aortic endothelium, an effect again dependent on the GLP-1R. Together these studies identify in vivo protection, by the GLP-1R agonist liraglutide, against ECD and provide a potential molecular mechanism responsible for these effects.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research